News for Friday 011918
By Dave Graichen
The north Louisiana TV show personality known as Mr. Wonder in the 70s will serve five years in prison. Frank Selas sexually assaulted a child while on a camping trip in Rapides Parish in 1979. All parties agreed a plea agreement with two years credit for time served. He will not have to register as a sex offender as that law was not in effect in 1979.
The freezing grip from the polar vortex is about to loosen in Louisiana. Forecasters say last night was the last night we’ll see temps below freezing as warmer temps will start to move in over the weekend. State climatologist Barry Keim says this weekend will feel like paradise after nearly a month of below normal temperatures… Saturday temps will be near 60, Sunday near 70..
Temperatures will return to the 50s today, but cold weather-related issues remain, especially in southeast Louisiana where many communities are dealing with low water pressure. The record breaking cold busted pipes and forced many to run their faucets to fight the freeze. Governor John Bel Edwards says water systems need a couple more days to catch up.
Residents in Louisiana were asked by their utility companies to conserve power for a few hours Thursday morning as energy demand was getting close to being more than what the power grids could handle. Entergy spokeswoman Sheila Pounders says they don’t foresee any future demand that would exceed the supply over the next several days as temperatures will be rising.
A man was found frozen outside his home in Crowley early Wednesday morning. The 56-year-old man was found by neighbors lying face down in his yard. Police chief Jimmy Broussard says they are interviewing neighbors to try to determine why he was outside and if health issues were related to his death. The victim’s identity is being withheld pending notification of the victim’s family.
Jury selection in the second-degree murder trial involving Joe McKnight’s shooter should conclude today. The former NFL and John Curtis running back was shot by Ronald Gasser on a roadside in Jefferson Parish in December of 2016. Loyola University Law Professor Dane Ciolino says the defense will likely claim McKnight tried to enter Gasser’s car after a road rage incident. Gasser was involved in another aggressive incident at the same intersection a decade ago.
A legislative task force recommends Louisiana loosen its restrictions on the gaming industry. The task force put forward two recommendations to make bayou gaming more nationally competitive. Lake Charles Senator Ronnie Johns says one of those proposals involves allowing riverboat casinos some inland real estate. Existing regulations only allow a certain square footage of “gaming space”, and Johns says this requirement is antiquated considering the size of new slot machines. These proposals will go before legislators during the upcoming legislative session.
Governor John Bel Edwards has moved the unveiling of his budget proposal to Monday due to winter weather in Louisiana. He had intended to show the administration’s proposed spending plan today but moved the meeting to next week because of concern about how lawmakers would get to Baton Rouge.
The chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing more than $83,000 from the tribe. 40 year old Joey P. Barbry pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Dee Drell to one count of theft from an Indian tribal organization. Barbry faces five years in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution and a $250,000 fine.
There are nearly 50 boil advisories issued in the state right now due to water pressure concerns from excessive use and bursting frozen pipes. Louisiana Department of Health Chief Engineer Amanda Laughlin (Loff-Lin) it’s important to follow the orders because when pressure is low, bacteria could potentially enter the distribution system. She adds that the advisories are only precautionary.
LSU nose tackle Greg Gilmore has been added to the Senior Bowl. He’ll be one of four Tigers in the game on January 27th in Mobile. Defensive lineman Christian LaCouture, running back Darrel Williams and receiver DJ Chark have also received invitations.
And former LSU standouts Russell Gage and Frank Herron will play in the N-F-L-P-A Collegiate Bowl on Saturday in the Rose Bowl in Pasedena.
News for Thursday 011818
By Dave Graichen
After a very cold start this morning, most Cenla Schools will reopen today. I-49 has reopened has reopened in all areas with the exception of Shreveport.. but there are still major problems in south Louisiana.. I-10 between Breaux Bridge and Slidell is still closed as is I12 in the Baton Rouge area..
Wakefield’s Fire Chief died in the line of duty Wednesday morning. 48-year-old Russell Achord of St. Francisville was killed while responding to another accident on Highway 61 in West Feliciana Parish. He was struck by an oncoming vehicle on an icy road.
An eight month old baby died yesterday when the car her mother was driving slid off the roadway and plunged into a canal in Metairie. The mother is listed in critical condition
Cold temperatures claimed the life of a man in New Roads early Wednesday. Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Bud Torres says they were notified by a neighbor that 84-year-old Paul Maker was found dead due to hypothermia in his home. They had some space heaters, but Maker and his wife were afraid to run them at night for fear of fire. The home’s temperature when police arrived was 20 degrees.
State Police report a single vehicle crash on Highway 167 South of Dry Prong claimed the life of a sergeant with the Alexandria Police, 53 year old Travis Lowe. Troopers say Lowe apparently lost control of his truck, causing him to leave the highway and strike some trees. Lowe, who was not wearing a seatbelt was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
LifeShare Blood Center has a critical shortage, and hours are being extended this weekend so people can donate. All blood types are needed from both first-time and current blood donors. The center on North Mall Drive in Alexandria, will be open Today from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Sunday, 8 a.m. to noon.
Multiple fire departments and police responded to a house fire yesterday morning on Mayflower Boulevard in Alexandria. The home belonged to Adam and Liz Jonson. The couple, their two children, and their dog were in the home when the fire started. All of them got out safely. Both Adam and Liz are employees at LSUA, and Adam is a member of the Rotary Club. LSUA faculty, and Rotary Club members are currently gathering donations for the family. Also, a Go Fund Me Account has been set up to help the family get back on their feet.. LINK
Louisiana continues to suffer through its worst flu season on record, with nearly 10 in 100 doctors’ visits in the last month for flu related symptoms. State Health Department Immunization Director Frank Welch says in his 20 years of doing this, he’s never seen so many cases. Welch says if you come down with flu like symptoms, you need to isolate yourself. Only after you have been without a temp for 24 hours are you no longer contagious. Welch says complications from the flu kills roughly 700 Louisianans a year.
Travel review website RewardExpert finds people vacationing in Louisiana are the “happiest and most satisfied of tourists.” The site found that 98-percent of visitors to the Bayou State are happier with their trip here than other states. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser credits Louisiana’s hospitality. The Los Angeles Times also listed Louisiana as one of 25 must-see places this year and the New York Times says New Orleans is the number one place to go this year as the city celebrates its 300th birthday.
Last night in a game heard on the New 94.7 ESPN after winning their last two, The Pelicans dropped one to the Atlanta Hawks 94 to 93. Up next, the Pels play host to the Grizzlies Saturday night..
Former LSU great Kevin Faulk will reportedly re-join the program and work with the football support staff. The Advocate says his hiring would need approval from the SEC, because he’s currently an assistant coach at Carencro and can’t have any ties with current players or walk-ons.
McNeese announces Lance Guidry will remain the head coach of the Cowboys after talking with Florida State about becoming an assistant for the Seminoles. A-D Bruce Hemphill says he’s excited Guidry is staying.
Tough loss for the LSU Tigers Tuesday night as they fell to Georgia by one point. The Bayou Bengals are now 2-and-3 in the SEC and all three losses have come at home. LSU will now play three of the next four on the road. On Saturday, the Tigers visit Vanderbilt and then return home to face Texas A-and-M on Tuesday.
News for Wednesday 011718
By Dave Graichen
Some of the coldest temperatures Louisiana has seen so far are being observed this morning. Some areas are reporting near single digit temperatures while coastal areas are not warmer than the 20’s to start the day off. Lake Charles National Weather Service forecaster Robert Megnia (meg-knee-a) says after bottoming out this morning, temperatures will slowly rebound across the state over the next 48 hours…
Due to Icy Road conditions, most schools across Cenla are closed again today. Public Schools in Rapides, Avoyelles, Grant, Vernon, LaSalle and St. Landry Parishes are closed. Catholic schools in Avoyelles, Rapides and Natchitoches parishes Closed. Alexandria Country Day School, Louisiana College, Northwestern State University, LSUA and University Academy are closed..
All State Offices are closed today.
Iced roads and closed schools have many workers asking if they have to go to their jobs today. Baton Rouge Attorney Yigal Bander says if your boss threatens you with a pink slip for skipping out, you don’t have many legal options. Louisiana, like most states, is employment at will. Bander says outside of gender, race, religion, and other protected areas, this means your employment status is wholly up to your boss…
A statewide poll by UNO shows President Donald Trump beating Oprah Winfrey by double digits in a hypothetical general election matchup. Trump gathered 60 percent of support in the poll of 722 Louisiana voters. Pollster Ed Chervenak says part of the reason is the president’s high approval rating in the bayou…
Florida Governor Rick Scott has announced he’ll be in Louisiana this week on a domestic trade mission. Scott says he’ll try to convince Louisiana businesses to move to Florida. Scott says he will share with Louisiana companies how the Sunshine state is making it easier on families and job creators.
The State Revenue Department says online retailers outside of Louisiana which delivered goods or services to Louisiana addresses will soon notify shoppers to pay sales taxes on those purchases. LDR’s Byron Henderson says a 2016 makes it mandatory for customers to pay sales tax on shipped items if they didn’t at the time of purchase. Amazon, the nation’s leading online retailer, started charging the sales tax after the bill passed.
A legislative task force today recommended moving riverboat casinos onto dry land, and Republican State Senator Ronnie Johns of Lake Charles said he would draft bills based on the suggestions. The only casino on land now is Harrah’s in New Orleans. The proposed legislation would lift the requirement that the paddle wheels operate and that the boats be manned with a captain and other marine crew.
Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell says taxpayers could save millions, if electric companies and cities convert to new energy efficient environmentally friendly LED streetlights. Campbell is proposing that the PSC conduct a comprehensive review of streetlight technology and how cities can save money by changing over. For example he says 40 percent of Shreveport’s electric bill is for their 35,000 street lights…
Drew Brees’s contract is a huge question mark for the Saints this offseason. The quarterback turned 39 on Monday, and is a free agent in March. Brees and the Saints front office have been coy so far about contract negotiations, but Brees says he hopes to have a deal before the free agent deadline.
News for Tuesday 011618
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana is bracing for winter weather as winter storm warnings and watches are in effect through this evening. Snow accumulations as much as four inches are possible in northwest Louisiana, while central Louisiana could see about an inch.
With the icy weather in the forecast, Rapides Parish public schools will be closed today.
Public schools in Avoyelles, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches and Vernon also will also be closed.
Classes are also canceled today at all Catholic schools in Rapides, Avoyelles and Natchitoches parishes, LSUA, Louisiana College in Pineville and all Northwestern State University campuses.
Road conditions in north Louisiana could deteriorate quickly once this storm system begins producing ice then snow later. DOTD’s Rodney Mallet says they are already preparing for the storm and have a good idea where the trouble spots will be
Temperatures will get back into the teens on tonight for much of Louisiana. Mallett says to check L-A-5-1-1 before heading out to see if the route you are taking is open.
A strong cold front has moved through north Louisiana into central Louisiana this morning. The storm has already brought ice and snow to parts of Bayou state. National Weather Service meteorologist Kent Kuyper says as the front heads south, the chances of freezing precipitation continues as temperatures will drop throughout the day leading very cold temperatures overnight tonight. The good news is above normal temperatures are expected in Louisiana by this weekend.
State police have arrested a Montgomery man, 28 year old Christopher Welch and charged him with felony Hit and Run in connection with an incident back on November 26th of last year in which 21 year old Hunter Thomisee was killed. Welch was arrested and charged based on information obtained during the fatal crash investigation that killed Thomisee. He was booked into the Winn Parish Jail.
Governor Edwards will reportedly present a budget to lawmakers on Friday that includes a 100-percent cut to TOPS. The governor is constitutionally required to propose a balanced budget, and the spending plan presented on Friday would reflect what would happen if the state does not replace the money generated by an expiring one-cent sales tax. The governor’s office is also preparing a budget that would show how the state would spend its money, if the billion dollar shortfall is resolved.
It appears unlikely House legislators and Governor John Bel Edwards will come to a fiscal cliff agreement before a Friday deadline. The deadline was set by the Governor, who was hoping to enter into a February special session with an agreement in principle to fill a one-billion dollar budget shortfall. The GOP is requesting a budget with less spending, while the governor wants to replace the sales tax by eliminating certain business tax breaks. Edwards says a key piece of these negotiations is getting his tax reform plan passed.
Don Briggs’ 26 year run as the President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association is coming to an end. Briggs says he’ll remain active, because he is concerned about the lost jobs in the industry. Briggs hopes there will be changes so the oil industry can operate without so many regulations that will encourage jobs growth in Louisiana. Briggs’ son Gifford Briggs will officially become president during LOGA’s annual meeting in March.
163 employees at CB and I in Livingston Parish are losing their jobs. The pipe fabrication facility in Walker says they are cutting costs due to a lack of available work. The Business Report says the decision was made after the company announced a six billion dollar merger with McDermott International. The layoffs go into effect February 19th.
The LSU men’s basketball team hosts Georgia tonight. The Tigers are looking for their first win at home in SEC play. Coach Will Wade says they need more from junior guard Brandon Sampson, who is averaging just four points a game in SEC contests and has yet to make a three-pointer. LSU lost to Alabama on Saturday 74-66.
News for Monday 011519
By Dave Graichen
The Saints season ended in heart breaking fashion in Minnesota last night. A 61-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the game gave the Vikings an improbable 29-24 victory over New Orleans. It appeared New Orleans had just completed a successful comeback from a 17-0 halftime deficit to win 24-23. But that touchdown pass from Case Keenum to Stefon Diggs ripped the hearts out of the Who Dat nation. Despite the devastating loss, Drew Brees believes the Saints can be a playoff team again next year…
There is the possibility of some nasty weather on Tuesday in the form of sleet and freezing rain.. With that in mind, Officials in Grant Parish have announced schools will be closed there on Tuesday as a precaution..
Governor John Bel Edwards announces the state will seek 600 million dollars in loans to pay for major highway projects. If accepted, the bonds will finance a major expansion of I-10 in Baton Rouge, the I-10 Loyola interchange in Kenner, and construction of an interchange into Barksdale Airforce Base in Bossier City. Edwards says the state will use federal highway money to pay back the loans…
The Legislative Women’s Caucus is investigating to see if it is necessary to overhaul sexual harassment policies for the legislature and state government employees. Chairman and New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno says the current policies are antiquated and need to be changed. She hopes if persons are found guilty of sexual harassment allegations, they’ll be held accountable.
Broussard and Lafayette Police say murders in their cities are possibly related. Broussard Police say the body of 23-year-old Skyler Barry of Lake Arthur was found lying face down under a home undergoing renovations Friday. Lafayette Police say earlier, they found the body of 28-year-old Justin Zeno of Lafayette lying beside a burning vehicle. Police say both people sustained gunshot wounds. Both departments are assisting one another in the investigation.
Legal Analyst Tim Meche says it’s an example of the new criminal justice reform measures put in place last year. A 26-year-old man was sentenced to five years in prison after plowing into a crowd of parade goers while intoxicated during a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans. He pled guilty to 11 felony counts of vehicular negligent injuring and 13 misdemeanor counts.
The Louisiana Heroes Project is asking folks to send some Fat Tuesday love to our troops serving in locations throughout the world who can’t be home this Carnival season. Mission Mardi Gras from Afghanistan coordinator Tawney Tallo, says their goal is to make sure all service members deployed from Louisiana receive a Carnival package before February 13th. If you would like to send a Mardi Gras Box to a deployed soldier, visit the Louisiana Heroes Project on Facebook for details.
It’s been a colder than normal winter to say the least in Louisiana and it might affect the insect population this summer. LSU Entomology Professor Timothy Schowalter says it’s expected that there will be a reduction in mosquitoes this year since some adults were more than likely killed in the December cold snap. Lovebugs on the other hand will more than likely survive these recent cold snaps.
Sportsman will be unable to renew their hunting and fishing licenses at retail stores for two months starting January 30th while the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries transitions to a new system. Spokesperson Rene LeBreton says the state has a new vendor for licensing. They will be available again at retail stores April 2nd.
The Louisiana Family Forum is celebrating the 2018 Longest Married Couple in Louisiana. The reigning champions, Lawrence and Varrie Player will be celebrating their 83rd anniversary this year.
A two year old child choked and died while at the Early Learning Center at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in Gentily. Seminary Spokesman Gary Meyers says the child was eating lunch when she chocked on food. Isabella Magee’s cause of death is under investigation
The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana has ruled in favor of LSU, dismissing claims made by Teresa Buchanan in a lawsuit against the university. Buchanan filed the suit after she was fired for allegedly making inappropriate comments during classes. The court ruled her comments were not protected by the First Amendment and that the university’s policies are constitutional, and that she received due process.
A police department in Ohio is trying to spread the word that they are not the Vermilion where a teacher was removed from a school board meeting this week for questioning the superintendent. Cops in Vermilion, Ohio say they have received angry and profane messages from people reacting to the controversial arrest of Deyshia Hargrave which actually happened in Vermilion Parish. The Ohio department said to please stop sending hate mail.
News for Friday 011218
By Dave Graichen
Dr. Frank Welch , the state's immunization director, says he fears 600 to 700 people will die in Louisiana this year from flu-related deaths. According to Welch, Louisiana is suffering its worst flu season in decades. He says he has been doing his job for 20 years and he’s never seen the flu season here so aggressive so early. The best protection is still the Flue Shot. Welch said even those who have already suffered from the flu should get the vaccine because it could protect them from a second strain. He also said even if the vaccine doesn't prevent the flu it can make symptoms be less severe.
A state lawmaker is proposing to change TOPS scholarship amounts. Students who meet the minimum eligibility would receive a four-thousand-dollar payment for the year, but students who achieve a very high ACT and GPA get a full scholarship, plus a stipend. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish says four-thousand-dollars may seem low, but it’s still the most lucrative college tuition program in the U-S.
WalMart announces a minimum wage increase to 11 dollars but also announces the closings of 63 Sams Clubs in 10 states. One of those stores is in Louisiana. The Sam’s Club near Cortana Mall in Baton Rouge is closed and has displaced about 175 workers.
Teachers from multiple parishes have gathered in Abbeville yesterday afternoon to show their support for middle school teacher Deyshia Hargrave, who was arrested at a school board meeting after questioning a raise given to the Vermilion Parish Schools superintendent. Superintendent Jerome Puyau says he, his staff and family have received death threats over the incident. He also says he should have stood up for Hargrave.
Meanwhile it’s been learned that the marshal who arrested Hargrave was previously sued for excessive force. Reggie Hilts was working as a police officer in the city of Scott and was named as a defendant in the 2012 lawsuit. The suit was eventually settled in 2016. Hilts left the Scott Police Department before the lawsuit was filed.
The Louisiana Property Assistance Agency will resume its monthly state surplus property auctions in Baton Rouge this weekend. The auction will feature a wide variety of items once used by state agencies. Division of Administration spokesperson Jacques Berry says there’s something for everyone. Berry says the proceeds from the auction, go back to the state to take care of a large portion of their transportation needs.
The auction will start Saturday at 8am.
In 2017, poison control centers dealt with more than 10,000 reports of children eating detergent pods. Authorities report they now seeing an increasing number of teenagers ingesting the colorful cases with the hope of getting high. Louisiana Poison Control President-Elect Mark Ryan says there is nothing in the pods that could do that. Ryan says the pods aren’t dangerously poisonous, but could trigger a reaction that will put you in the hospital. He says if one of your children or friends ingests a pod, call the national poison hotline.
Wildlife and Fisheries agents have arrested a Point Coupee Parish man for allegedly killing a protected black bear. The bear was a part of the Louisiana Black Bear Management and Research project. LDWF Spokesperson Adam Einck says agents responded after the tagged bear set off an alert. He says 28-year-old Ronald Kimble is a convicted felon and is not allowed to possess a firearm in the first place.
Officials broke ground Thursday on a major I-10 widening project which will affect travelers between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The job will stretch over a six mile portion of the interstate from Highland Road to Highway 73. Officials encourage drivers to visit 511LA.org for traffic and road closure info.
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron introduced his new offensive coordinator Thursday, Steve Ensminger. Ensminger is an old face around Tiger Stadium, having been with the team since 2010, and having captained LSU to three bowl games in the late 70s at quarterback. Ensminger was LSU’s interim offensive coordinator in 2016.
News for Thursday 011118
By Dave Graichen
Get ready for a return of cold temperatures. State Climatologist Barry Keim says a strong cold front will move through the state today, dropping temperatures and keeping highs below 50 degrees for the weekend, with night time lows in the 20’s. The cold air is expected to stick around all weekend long and into next week.
A woman in Ouachita Parish has died as the result of a pit bull mauling. Ouachita Parish Sheriffs spokesperson Glen Springfield says deputies arrived at the Happy Hounds Hotel, a West Monroe area pet boarding facility, and found Laura Ray had been severely injured. No further details have been released about the incident, and Springfield says the pit bull is being held by Ouachita Parish Animal Control.
Former Ball police officer David Wayne Gagnard has been charged again, this time accused of extortion, fraud and more. The 46 year old Gagnard was booked yesterday into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on four counts of malfeasance in office, abuse of office, extortion, injuring public records and insurance fraud. That's in addition to a long list of charges from his December. The arrest happened after Ball Police Department Chief Nate Ussery requested an investigation back in December.
A lot of LSU news in a short story.. Steve Ensminger has been named Matt Canada’s replacement as LSU offensive coordinator. The Baton Rouge Advocate obtained the separation agreement between LSU and Canada which state’s the former OC’s $1.7 million dollar settlement would be voided if he interferes with the football program. In other Tiger news, Derrius Guice announced yesterday he’d be entering the NFL Draft.
US Senator John Kennedy says he’s considering a run for governor in 2019, as the GOP in Louisiana hopes to keep Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards from the post for a second term. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says this is a very conservative state, so you can expect plenty of Republican candidates to line up for next year’s election. Other Republican names that have been mentioned include US Congressman Ralph Abraham, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and Attorney General Jeff Landry.
Eilers and Krejcik Gaming says Louisiana is one of 18 states that could discuss legislation to legalize sports betting, if the U-S Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey, which is challenging the constitutionality of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Author of the report, Chris Grove, says legalizing sports betting would be a budgetary boon for the state.
The elementary school teacher who was arrested after speaking out against the Vermilion Parish superintendent’s raise has released a video statement. Deyshia Hargrave says by being asked to leave, the school board is attempting to silence an issue that effects the entire community. Governor John Bel Edwards said Wednesday he did not see that Hargrave did or said anything that warranted that type of action against her.
Who has the best King Cake in Louisiana? The website King Cake Snob is set to find out this carnival season. Jay Connaughton, CEO of Mandeville-based Innovative Advertising, says the competition will award the top “traditional” and “filled” King Cakes this year by separating the best from the rest. The site for people to submit reviews is at king-cake-snob-dot-com.
The Saints face their biggest challenge of the year this Sunday, as they head to Minnesota for a rematch of the season opener that they lost 19 to 29. The Vikings boast the best defense in the league, and have routinely suffocated even the best offenses, keeping both the Falcons and Rams in the single digits The Saints will be rolling into a raucous US Bank Stadium full of fans who know their team is only two wins away from the first ever home Super Bowl. The game kicks off at 3:40 Sunday afternoon.
News for Wednesday 011018
By Dave Graichen
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise undergoes another surgery today as he continues his recovery from a gunshot sustained while practicing for a charity baseball game. The bullet struck several of the Congressman’s internal organs. Scalise mentioned the surgery in a press conference on Tuesday. He says he’s looking forward to getting back to work on Capitol Hill and getting business done in the session that started this week.
A Monroe Police officer who died while on duty early Sunday morning apparently shot himself before crashing The Monroe News Star says it’s unknown if 26-year-old Officer Chris Beaudion accidentally shot himself or committed suicide. State Police are investigating the wreck while the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating the cause of death.
After failing last year to raise Louisiana’s gas tax for road improvements, Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter has a different idea this year by planning to file a constitutional amendment that would allow a region of the state to decide if they want a higher gas tax for their area. Carter says there’s not enough support for a statewide gas tax increase.
Governor John Bel Edwards has sent a letter to President Trump asking him to defend Louisiana’s ability to offer medical marijuana. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is ending a federal mandate that kept federal authorities from cracking down on legalized pot. St. Martinville Senator Fred Mills authored the law authorizing the regulation of cannabis treatment in Louisiana. The state Board of Pharmacy plans on issuing permits soon for nine selected pharmacies around the state that will be able to dispense the medical cannabis.
Officials say they will not press charges against a Vermilion Parish middle school teacher who was removed and then handcuffed after she spoke out during a school board meeting Monday night. English teacher Deyshia Hargrave opposed a pay raise for the superintendent. After asking several questions, Hargrave was led out by a marshal.
U-S Senator John Kennedy opposes a bipartisan bill designed to improve the national background check database. The legislation would penalize federal workers who fail to report relevant records to the database, and provide incentives to states that increase reporting levels. Kennedy says we don’t need legislation asking federal workers to do their job.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Gene Reynolds says he and fellow Democrats came away frustrated after meeting with the GOP on how to prevent falling off a fiscal cliff when one-billion-dollars in revenue comes off the books June 30th. Governor John Bel Edwards is saying he will present a budget no later than January 19th, whether or not the one-billion-dollar shortfall is accounted for. Republican House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says Democrats are going about this all wrong and is disappointed in the way Edwards and his party are discussing ways to tackle the budget.
Congressman Steve Scalise of Metairie says the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is already having a positive impact on families. Scalise lists over 100 businesses on his House Majority Whip website that have given bonuses, pay raises or made new investments as a result of the federal tax overhaul. Scalise says local businesses in southeast Louisiana are following suit…
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index is the highest it’s ever been to start off 2018. NFIB State Director Dawn Starns says the federal tax reform legislation, de-regulation of businesses and the defeat of U-S Labor Department overtime rule have led to the high optimism rating. The rule would have required businesses to pay overtime to millions of workers.
State Police are warning motorists driving newer cars that their bright headlights, could increase the risk of accidents. Trooper Glen Younger says LED headlights are a particular problem, and motorists need to keep their distance while driving in bad weather with your bright light on. Many new cars come equipped with sensors that will automatically turn headlights on and off, but Younger says you still need to check your headlights when the weather clears up. He says driving with your high beams on could lead to you getting a ticket.
News for Tuesday 010918
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards met with House Speaker Taylor Barras again Monday to discuss solutions to a looming one-billion dollar budget deficit. Edwards would like to call a special session in February to pass a revenue-neutral tax plan to address the fiscal cliff. The governor is working on proposing a budget that reflects a billion dollars in cuts, if he can’t reach an agreement with legislators on a tax plan. In a twitter post, Governor Edwards outlined for the GOP what he would like to see accomplished.
What is going on in Baton Rouge? The Capitol city for the past two years a seen a major jump in the number of homicides. In 2017, that number eclipsed the number of homicides, per 100,000, in the city of Chicago. The number of parish wide homicides, defined by the FBI as intentional, not justified nor accidental, killings, increased by 70 percent from 2016, when 62 homicides were counted. And looking even beyond that one-year jump, 2017 still marked a 50 percent increase from an average of the previous five years.
State Police say an officer with the Monroe Police Department has died following a Sunday wreck. They say 26-year-old Chris Beaudion was involved in a single-vehicle crash while on duty in the early morning hours. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Beaudion leaves behind a wife and two children. He had been with the department since August 2016…
One person is dead, two others injured after a home invasion in Madison parish that happened Sunday night an apartment complex. Authorities have yet to make an arrest and they have not identified the victims. Investigators believe it was a random murder.
Governor John Bel Edwards has several items he would like to accomplish in the 2018 regular legislative session when it convenes March 12th. Edwards will once again ask legislators to increase the minimum wage. 18 states increased their minimum wage January 1st. He says $7.25 an hour is not enough for hard working Louisiana families. The Governor also feels there is an overabundance of state licensing boards, 71 of them to be exact and the Governor believes most need to be eliminated. By doing so, he says it would help small businesses trying to start up in Louisiana.
Saints fans following the team to Minnesota will be lucky if they experience temperatures above zero. Minneapolis is expecting arctic temperatures all weekend long, but the game itself will be played indoors.
The former Police Chief for the Town of Killian in Livingston Parish was paid for time he did not work, received excessive compensation and used work credit cards for personal use, according to a recent state audit. Investigative Audit Manager Greg Clapinski says they found that Dennis Hill submitted time sheets for overtime that he did not work.
News for Monday 010818
By Dave Graichen
Based on records released by the Division of Administration the state paid out one-point-three million dollars since mid-2009 to settle sexual harassment claims involving state officials and employees. There were 27 payouts ranging from 55-hundred dollars to 150-thousand dollars. University professors, judges, employees in the state prison system were among the ones accused in the settlement cases.
LSU athletics reportedly paid 1.7 million dollars to buy out the final two years of Matt Canada’s contract. So the search is on for a new offensive coordinator. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham believes Athletics Director Joe Alleva is willing to spend a lot on a new play caller. Worsham says finding Canada’s replacement will be very important for Orgeron, because if he misfires again, it could mean the end of his tenure at LSU.
The New Orleans Saints advanced to the NFC Divisional playoffs next Sunday at Minnesota with a heart stopping, 31-26 victory over Carolina in the Wild Card playoffs Sunday afternoon at the Superdome.
Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards will meet with Republican House Speaker Taylor Barras today to continue negotiations centered on the looming fiscal cliff. Edwards set a January 19th deadline to come up with an agreement in principle on a plan to address a one billion dollar shortfall. The governor’s plan includes allowing the fifth penny of the state sales tax to expire, but removes some sales tax exemptions businesses enjoy. The plan echoes the recommendations of a bipartisan taskforce.
New Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul will be sworn in today and has a huge task ahead. East Baton Rouge recorded 104 murders in 2017, most were in the city limits of Baton Rouge. LSU Sociology Professor Matthew Valasik says Paul must heal any animosity between police and citizens, before progress can be made. Paul is a 19-year law enforcement veteran coming from Louisiana State Police. Valasik says this will enable Paul to bring experience and a different perspective.
Republican U-S Senator Bill Cassidy says the Trump’s administration plan to expand offshore oil and gas production to areas currently restricted would mean hundreds of thousands jobs. Cassidy says the job growth for Louisiana would about 31-thousand jobs. But Democrats and environmental groups are pushing against the plan, because of possible negative impacts to the environment.
East Baton Rouge sheriff deputies arrested a 29-year-old man after he allegedly stabbed his wife and three children with scissors. Sheriff’s office spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks says the victims fled and told neighbors to call 9-1-1. The suspect is in police custody.
It's been a billion-dollar lottery weekend after a lone Powerball ticket sold in New Hampshire matched all six numbers and will claim a $570 million jackpot, one day after another single ticket sold in Florida nabbed a $450 million Mega Millions grand prize.
Water has been distributed to residents in Tallulah as a state of emergency has been declared in Madison Parish because many residents are without water. Numerous pipes have busted because of the cold weather. Tallulah Mayor Payton Branch says the city’s water plant is 70 years old and they plan to rebuild it this year.
Since Christmas, Louisiana has seen 16 people die in home fires. That’s according to State Fire Marshal Butch Browning, who says many of the fires started because of misusing space heaters. He says some outlets can’t handle a space heater and another electrical item plugged into them. Browning says space heaters should also not be plugged into an extension cord.
State wildlife and fisheries says we could see fish kills throughout coastal Louisiana as a result of the arctic blast that produced freezing water temperatures. Biologists say many fish that may have been killed by the freeze would still be on the bottom of water bodies and may not be visible for a week or more.
The arctic blast halted crawfish farming, caused a rash of house fires, but it looks like this year’s strawberry crop should escape with minimal damage. The strawberry crop is a 15 million dollar a year industry for the state.
News for Friday 010518
By Dave Graichen
Former Louisiana College President Dr. Joe Aguillard is suing the school again .The suit filed in in U.S. District Court in Alexandria claims Aguillard was discriminated against for his "disability" , he had a heart attack and quadruple bypass surgery in 2011. Aguillard resigned from the presidency publicly stating health reasons. Aguillard also is claiming discrimination based on his religious beliefs, claiming current LC president, Rick Brewer, is a Calvinist.
Qualifying ends today for the March 24th election. So far, five men have qualified for the Alexandria city marshal race. Pineville Mayor Clarence Fields and five council members have drawn no opposition and no one has qualified yet for the Ward 10 justice of the peace contest.
The arctic blast is expected to start receding this weekend, sending the state back to its usual mild winter weather. Low temperatures this week sat in the lower 20s for much of Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says it’s one of the coldest weeks on record.
The federal tax reform bill slashed taxes for different businesses, and the state believes those tax savings could be passed on to utility customers. Governor John Bel Edwards has asked the Louisiana Public Service Commission to see if the state’s utility customers should see lower rates as a result of the recently approved federal tax overhaul legislation. P-S-C member Foster Campbell says Edwards is right and that will be a focus of their first meetings of 2018. Edwards says Dominion Energy in South Carolina has already announced plans to lower its rates, because of the new federal tax law.
Saturday’s Powerball jackpot and tonight’s Mega-Millions drawing are some of the largest jackpots the history of the multi-state lottery games. Louisiana Lottery spokesman Dustin Annison says a lot of money is on the line. Over $440 Million for tonight’s Megga Millions Drawing and $550 million for the Saturday’s Power Ball Drawing. Annison says the large jackpots are drawing people across state lines helping to increase the size of the jackpots.
Cleanup continues at the scene of a train derailment in Pointe Coupee Parish along LA 1 between New Roads and Morganza. The Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office reports that 23 train cars were involved in the derailment the occurred Thursday. No leaks or injuries reported.
The 96th Louisiana State Police cadet class will graduate today with 27 men and women being assigned to the ten different troops around the state. Sgt. Jared Sandifer says the new troopers will help drivers throughout the Bayou State. This was the first time in many years that LSP conducted two cadet classes at the same time. As the 96th is wrapping up, the 97th class began their over 20 week training program.
Three people, a mother and her two children, were killed in a mobile home fire in Zachary late Wednesday night. Zachary Fire Chief Danny Kimble says firefighters reported to a fully engulfed trailer shortly after 11pm. A cause of the blaze hasn’t been determined the but the State Fire Mashal says the below freezing temperatures have led to a surge in fire-related deaths.
A teenager who was found yesterday with multiple stab wounds inside a Lafayette home has died from his injuries. A 32-year-old man has been charged with manslaughter in the case. Lafayette Police Corporal Bridgette Dugas says they believe an argument between the teen and 32-year-old Lawrence Allen the Second escalated into murder. Allen has been booked into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center.
A television series about the life of the men and women who live in the wilds of Louisiana will begin airing on a new channel this weekend. The Discovery Channel has signed “Out Da’ Bayou” for 13 episodes after five years on CST and the Sportsman Channel. Host John Jackson says the show puts you right in the middle of some of the toughest jobs in the state. Jackson says even if you were born and raised in the bayou, you’ll probably learn something new about your home state. The show airs Saturdays at 7:30am.
One of the top defensive coordinators in the country will stay in Baton Rouge. LSU and Dave Aranda have reportedly agreed to a four-year deal. Aranda was already the highest paid assistant college football coach in the country and now he’s set to make on average 2.5 million dollars a year.
A key member of LSU’s defense has declared for the NFL draft. Arden Key told fans on social media that he’ll skip his senior season. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Key left the team during spring football to deal with a personal matter and also missed five games during his junior campaign, because of injuries. We’re still waiting to hear if running back Derius Guice will enter the NFL draft. He has until January 15th to decide.
New Orleans is nearly a touchdown favorite to beat Carolina on Sunday in their NFC playoff match-up. The Black and Gold already own two victories over the Panthers this season. The Saints have won seven straight inside the Superdome.
News for Thursday 010418
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana remains one of the states with the most confirmed cases of influenza during the early half of the flu season. Department of Health’s Dr. Frank Welch says he is very concerned at the early aggressiveness the flu is showing this year. Louisiana sees on average about 8,000 hospitalizations and 700 deaths per year as a result of the flu. Welch says not all flu cases are serious enough to go to the hospital, but stay away from people if you are sick.
The national price at the pump is at its highest in nearly five years after the busiest holiday travel season on record. The average here in Louisiana is 2.26 a gallon for regular gas, up nearly four cents over last week, but AAA spokesperson Don Redman says he doesn’t expect the price to hold. Redman says he believes gas will come down at least ten cents in the next month
Parts of coastal Southeast Louisiana saw snow early Wednesday morning. Measurable snow fell in Grand Isle and areas of south Plaquemines Parish. Alek Krautman with the National Weather Service in Slidell says the last time snow stuck to the ground in that area was December 1989
The Louisiana SPCA says they are getting numerous reports of pets left outside in this extremely cold weather. Some pets are being seized by authorities and owners are being charged with animal cruelty.
Dr. Joseph Johnson, one of the most influential alumni and presidents in Grambling State University’s history passed away yesterday. Johnson was instrumental in a 1981 consent decree that led to an increase in funding for the school, facilitating the creation of the Grambling School of Nursing, and the university’s first doctoral program. He was the university’s third president, serving from 1977 to 1991, and nearly tripled the institutions enrollment during his tenure.
A new component of driver’s education is a section on how to respond to being pulled over by a police officer. The additional curriculum is the result of a new law that went into effect January 1st, aimed at decreasing fatalities resulting from police interactions during traffic stops. Along with educating new drivers on how to talk to police, the new program will emphasize how to be prepared if you get pulled over.
As Louisiana tourism enters 2018, there are some glaring concerns as to how to encourage more visitors to come to the Bayou State. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says the state’s tourism budget is facing a ten percent cut if legislators are unable to resolve the fiscal cliff issues. Nungesser says the Lt. Governor’s office has seen massive cuts the last several years and is afraid further cuts will reduce the ability to keep the state park system operating…
Three are under arrest in the shooting death of a man found near Gonzales in Ascension Parish. The body of 20 year old Francisco Nieves was found in a ditch near a trailer park Tuesday. Police say the shooting didn’t occur in Gonzales, but happened in Jefferson Parish. 20-year-old Archie Armstrong of Marrero is charged with second degree murder while two others face accessory to second degree murder charges…
Texas A&M is not taking no for an answer and is coming after LSU defense coordinator Dave Aranda again. Aranda turned down their original offer of 1.85-milllion dollars to make him the highest paid college assistant coach in the country. An LSU source says the new offer may be closer now to 3 million and Aranda would have the flexibility to hire his own defensive staff.
Kentucky beat LSU in Basketball last night.. the final 74 to 71 Up next, Texas A&M Saturday..
The Pelicans beat the Jazz last night, 108 - 98
News for Wednesday 010318
By Dave Graichen
2018 is off to a very cold start. Lows the last two mornings were in the teens to low 20s and wind chills were in the single digits in some areas. It was so cold yesterday that snow fell in parts of Southeast Louisiana in the areas of Morgan City, Houma, Grand Isle and Raceland. Phil Grigsby, with the National Weather Service in Slidell, says this arctic air mass is not going away. We’ll have to wait until this weekend before the Bayou State can finally thaw out.
Two people were found dead Tuesday at the site of a house fire in Baton Rouge, bringing the total to seven houses fire across the state in just 24 hours. The State Fire Marshal is warning residents to use extra care in using heating devices in the face of this unusually cold winter weather, and to make sure you check your fire alarms before going to sleep tonight. Few things can do more to save your life in a fire.
An audit found that some Boyce Police Department officers may have been given improper pay raises and that some are working excessive hours, including one officer who clocked more than 25 hours in one day. The town already has turned over the matter concerning the excessive hours to the Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office and a review of the pay raises is under way.
The arctic blast is keeping Louisianans indoors and is threatening this year’s crawfish harvest. The state’s winters are usually wet and mild, perfect conditions for breeding plenty of big crawfish, but the near record lows have halted production. Last year’s crop came with a low profit margin and Louisiana Crawfish Promotion Board President David Savoy says expect much smaller crawfish this year.
A few national corporations announced they’d be giving holiday bonuses last week as a result of the GOP tax bill, but on a local level the response has been somewhat more muted. LSU economist Loren Scott says the bill is a substantial reduction in corporate and business taxes, and is aimed at enticing foreign businesses to relocate to the USA, and inspiring domestic businesses to expand. Republicans say the bill will help maintain the current three percent growth in GDP, and Scott says if that happens, it would be a big boost to the Louisiana economy.
2018 could be a volatile year in Louisiana politics. It’s a somewhat quiet year for elections, but UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says the Legislature and Governor John Bel Edwards have a long road facing them after the one cent sales tax falls off the books June 30th, leaving Louisiana with a one-billion-dollar deficit. The Louisiana Congressional delegation appears to be solid going into the mid-term elections this year. Cross feels 3rd District Congressman Clay Higgins faces the most opposition…
The looming fiscal cliff has party leaders preparing for a series of tense negotiations ahead of a January 19th deadline imposed by Governor John Bel Edwards. That deadline was set with the hope that legislative leaders would have the framework for a deal to address an imminent one billion dollar shortfall. State Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere is not happy with the governor’s deadline. Edwards wants a deal in principle by January 19th so he can call a special session in February to pass new tax laws to address the budget deficit. The Governor says he wants a revenue neutral plan, but Villere says Edwards is really calling for a tax hike.
Fourth District Congressman Mike Johnson and Attorney General Jeff Landry have released the “Louisiana Student Rights Review.” Johnson says the publication found at mike-johnson-for-Louisiana-dot-com answers legal questions and clears up misconceptions about religious expression on school campuses. Johnson says the Constitution protects the rights of students to live out their faith in a public school.
Many find it hard to be motivated at work after taking time off for the holidays. And with the extended cold snap, it may be challenging to get out and go back to work. But once you get there, CEO of Mid-America Careers Nick Murphy says do not be too hard on yourself as you get back into “work mode” If you are in a job that you truly are not happy with, it may be a good time to make a change. Many employers are starting to hire with new budgets in place.
The LSU men’s basketball team has made great strides during the first year with Will Wade as their head coach. The 9-and-3 Tigers are coming off a road win over Memphis, tonight they face 17th ranked Kentucky. You can hear that game starting at 7 this evening on KSYL 970AM & 100.3 HD3FM.
News for Tuesday 010218
By Dave Graichen
All of the state starting the day in a deep freeze, with temps in the mid-teens here in Cenla. The cold weather plans to stick around for a while. 18 is the predicted low for tonight.
Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson looks ahead to road projects coming and continuing into 2018. He says major progress will take place on the work being done on I-10, west of the Basin Bridge to Lafayette. Wilson says there is a major construction boom happening in Southeast Louisiana this year where over 100,000 people pass through each day, so motorists need to expect delays for at least the entire year.
Many people make quitting smoking one of their New Year’s resolutions. Louisiana is 47th out of 50 states for tobacco use, with over 22-percent of adults light up, one of the highest percentages in the nation. Smoking Cessation Trust CEO Mike Rogers says one of the main reasons people don’t succeed is they try to go it alone. He adds if you don’t succeed this time, to keep trying. An average person quits at least eight times before succeeding.
A new year can mean the start of several new things, including how you handle your finances. Trying to keep your financial house in order can be tough, if you are not aware of where you are spending your money. Baton Rouge CPA Layne McDaniel says one way to try to squeeze a little more out of your budget is knowing how you spend. How much to save is the big question. McDaniel says even though it’s an old cliché, he says to “pay yourself first”.
The number of Craft Breweries in Louisiana has more than doubled in the last five years, and with the recent corporate tax cuts as a result of the tax reform legislation passed by Congress, we could see a few more. Executive Director of the Louisiana Craft Brewers Guild Cary Koch says a provision in the new tax law will have big returns for local brewers.
Disappointing finish to the season for the LSU Tigers as Notre Dame scored a late touchdown to beat the Bayou Bengals 21-17.
Despite a 31-24 defeat at Tampa Bay Sunday afternoon, the Saints still won the NFC South and still will host Carolina in a Wild Card playoff game Sunday afternoon in the Superdome. The Saints-Panthers winner will advance to play at either No. 1 seed Philadelphia or No. 2 seed Minnesota.
News for Friday 122217
By Dave Graichen
Cleco has named Bill Fontenot as the new CEO effective January 1st. Fontenot has been with the company for 31 years, working in various capacities including business development, commercial operations and utility operations. He says he’s honored to help keep the focus of the utility on their customers. Fontenot’s family has a long history with the Pineville-based utility company. The father worked for the utility for over 30 years and son Bill followed in his footsteps. Cleco serves about 288-thousand customers in Louisiana.
For the seventeenth year in a row State Police troop E out of Alexandria will be delivering gifts to children who are stuck in the hospital for Christmas. The troop plans to meet Christmas Eve morning to start wrapping gifts to deliver to kids later that night. Master Trooper Scott Moreau says the troop works on the toy drive all year long.
Moreau says any hospitalized child, regardless of background, will be getting a gift…
Moreau says it’s his troops way of spreading a little holiday cheer.
A Southern Media and Opinion Research poll finds Governor John Bel Edwards has his highest approval numbers since taking office nearly two years ago at 65-percent. It eclipses his previous high of 63-percent and is higher than the 54-percent approval rating in May. Governor Edwards says he’s grateful for the trust the voters have placed in him. He says the first two years have seen it’s share of challenges, but he is looking forward to the future.
This will be a record setting holiday for traveling this Christmas. Over 103 million Americans will take to the roads and skies between now and the first of the year. Part of the reason behind the surge in travelers is low gas prices. Triple-A’s Don Redman says prices are higher than they were last year, but travelers feel more confident about the economy. Airline fares are seeing a drop. Some six million are expected to take to the skies during the final week of the year, a one-point-five-percent increase over 2016.
The roads will be packed this weekend with holiday traffic, and the Louisiana State police want everyone traveling to stay safe. Trooper Glen Younger says the stress and extended traffic times can stress drivers and sometimes lead to road rage. He says if you are driving, expect longer travel times. And of course, if you plan to drink, keep a designated driver handy.
Congress’s 1.5 trillion dollar tax overhaul has many wondering how this will impact their finances. The wholesale changes touch everything from investment returns to charitable donations, and radically alters tax season for most Louisianans. Baton Rouge area CPA Brandon Lagarde says the bill should lower taxes for most in the state. He says in any case, the changes will keep CPA’s very busy…
This will be a big weekend for Christmas present crunch time, and retailers are rolling out plenty of last-minute deals to get that holiday dollar. The last Saturday before Christmas is known as Super Saturday, and LSU Marketing Professor Dan Rice says it’s a big day for brick and mortar stores because it’s too late for online shopping in most cases. About 126 million people, or 53 percent of consumers, plan to shop on Saturday
A Zachary man is charged by a grand jury with first degree murder in the deaths of three people last month. 36-year-old Taurus Ike Hamilton allegedly killed his ex-girlfriend and two others in East Feliciana Parish. He has not yet been charged with a fourth murder in East Baton Rouge. His mother Belinda Folse is charged with accessory to second degree murder, after allegedly taking Hamilton across state lines…
Nearly 64,000 Americans died last year from drug overdoses, leading to a decline in life expectancy for the second year in a row, according to the CDC. Addiction Policy Forum President and CEO, Jessica Hulsey Nickel, blames the exploding opioid epidemic. According to the World Health Organization, The United states now ranks below several dozen other countries in average life expectancy.
Saints Safety Kenny Vaccaro has been placed on injured reserve as a result of a groin injury, which means he’ll miss the rest of the season. He suffered the injury on November fifth and a source says it never healed correctly and it will require surgery.
The Saints can qualify for the playoffs with a win over NFC South rival Atlanta or a Carolina loss this weekend. New Orleans has the easiest road to the post season of any NFL team still trying to qualify, only needing to win one of the next two to play in January. Quarterback Drew Brees says he would love to wrap this up and win in front of the home crowd.
It’s another case of people being more upset than the victim. Saints Head Coach Sean Payton has apologized for the choke gesture he made towards Falcons running back Devonta Freeman. TV cameras caught the incident when the two teams met two weeks ago in Atlanta and the two teams are set to meet again this Sunday. In a conference call with Atlanta reporters, Payton said he let his emotions get the best of him. Freeman says he’s not bothered by Payton’s actions.
Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductee Charlie Hennigan passed away Wednesday. Hennigan, a Northwestern State graduate, still holds two NFL receiving records and is in the top three of three more. A native of Bienville, Hennigan will be laid to rest there Saturday. Charlie Hennigan was 82.
News for Thursday 122117
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards held an end of the year press conference yesterday and set a deadline of January 19th for an agreement in principle with House Republican leaders regarding the one-billion dollar budget deficit the state is facing in 2018. If no agreement, then the governor will not call a special session to approve various proposals to close the budget gap. Edwards says if they are unable to reduce the deficit, he’ll have no chose but to propose deep cuts to education and health care. He says there is nowhere else to cut…
U-S Senator Bill Cassidy says the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act approved by Congress does more than just cut taxes for working families. Cassidy says the legislation also allows victims of last year’s floods in North and South Louisiana to deduct all of their personal casualty losses from their taxable income, which could mean thousands of dollars…
Cassidy says the bill also doubles the Child Tax Credit to two-thousand dollars.
The head of the Tiger Athletic Foundation is waiting to see what kind of impact the federal tax reform legislation will have on college athletics. TAF President Rick Perry says LSU season ticket sales for their major sports could be impacted since fans will no longer be able to deduct 80 percent of their donations to the athletic program for the right to buy season tickets.
A Southern Media and Opinion Research poll finds only 19 percent of registered Louisiana voters believe their taxes will decrease with the passage of the Republican tax reform bill. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says Republicans say the average wage earner will see more money, but taxpayers are skeptical. According to the survey of 500 likely Louisiana voters, 42-percent of respondents believe their taxes will increase. Pinsonat says the massive tax reform legislation will have a major impact on next year’s federal mid-term elections.
An appeals court has ruled against the Rapides Parish School Board, which had appealed the reinstatement of a tenured teacher fired in 2001 and a more than $1 million judgment for her. The case of Patricia Powell was sent back to the 9th Judicial District Court "for a determination of the exact amount of damages awarded, along with appropriate interest and costs. In September of last year, District Judge Thomas Yeager ruled that Powell had been the victim of political retaliation and awarded her more than $1 million in damages. The school board appealed that decision to the 3rd Circuit.
The state attorney general’s office announced Wednesday the athletic director and basketball coach at Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau has been arrested on various sex crimes, including indecent behavior with a juvenile. 51-year-old Mark Aune of Opelousas was booked into the St. Landry Parish jail with the help of Texas authorities.
Governor John Bel Edwards addressed two controversies yesterday involving former members of his administration. A legislative audit accuses former State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson of abusing his power and possible illegal activity. The Governor defended his living arrangement at state police headquarters. But, said that other findings revealed by both the State Police Internal Affairs and a legislative audit revealed troubling behavior. Edwards former aide, Johnny Anderson, recently resigned over sexual harassment allegations. Edwards says the issue was handled swiftly.
Lottery tickets may seem like a great Christmas gift with adults buying them for children as stocking stuffers. But Quinetta Womack, director of Problem Gambling Services, says it gives the juvenile a false sense of dreams and ideas that can lead to gambling addiction. Womack says it’s much better to give a child a gift that will promote their creativity, based on real values.
LSU AgCenter sugarcane specialist Kenneth Gravois believes this will be a record breaking year for sugarcane production in this state. Gravois says 2012 is the record for production, 84-hundred pounds per acre harvested and he believes they’ll beat that this year.
The selections for the 2018 Pro Bowl were announced Tuesday night and they include six New Orleans Saints. Quarterback Drew Brees, defensive end Cameron Jordan, receiver Michael Thomas, cornerback Marshon Lattimore and running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have been named to the team.
A good night last night for Louisiana Tech in the first ever Frisco Bowl. The Bulldogs Squashed the SMU Mustangs 51 to 10
News for Wednesday 122017
By Dave Graichen
The U-S House and Senate approves a one-point-five trillion dollar tax package that supporters say will provide tax relief for working families, but opponents say only the rich will see tax breaks. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana says on average, families will see over two-thousand dollars more in their paychecks every year that will benefit them directly. The day was not without hiccups as several small provisions in the tax bill were found by the Senate parliamentarian to violate the budget rules that Republicans must follow to pass their bill through a process that shields it from a Democratic filibuster. As a result, the House will need to vote again on the tax bill, probably today, since both chambers must approve identical legislation.
State police report a 15-year-old girl died Monday night after losing control of the truck she was driving. Troopers say the accident happened shortly after 9pm on U.S. Highway 71 near Campti in Natchitoches Parish. Kristyn Hoffpauir, from the village of Atlanta in Winn Parish, died at the scene of the crash. A passenger in the vehicle received serious injuries and was transported to Rapides Regional.
A federal civil rights lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of DeJuan Guillory’s family claims an Evangeline Parish sheriff’s deputy fatally shot the then 27 year old Guillory on July 6 as Guillory tried to crawl away, posing no threat to the deputy. An Evangeline Parish grand jury on Dec. 13 declined to indict Lafleur in the shooting, which followed a fight between Guillory and Lafleur during a 4 a.m. traffic stop where Guillory and his girlfriend, Dequince Brown, had been riding an all-terrain vehicle. Brown, who jumped on Lafleur around the time the gun went off, is now charged with attempted murder of a police officer.
The future of two major safety-net hospitals in north Louisiana is close to being secured. Ochsner Health Systems signed a non-binding agreement to take control of the facilities from BRF. The hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe are set to enter into a public-private partnership between LSU and Ochsner, after years of criticism over BRF’s practices. State Officials say a contract could take a few months to complete.
According to an ULM economic impact study released, commercial use of the Ouachita River produces billions in revenue and several thousand jobs in North Louisiana. Ouachita River Valley Association President Randy Denmon says they will be able to use this study to ask the federal government to keep the river open and navigable.
A university of Kansas study says Uber customers are increasingly choosing the ride service for trips to the emergency room, over an ambulance. Chief of Emergency Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans, Dr. Keith Van Meter says sometimes people feel their illness is not that significant and just need an Uber driver to get them to the hospital, but that could be a mistake.
According to Trust for America’s Health, Louisiana achieved only four out of ten indicators for public health preparedness. The criteria is based on weather related events, flu vaccination rate, paid sick leave and other benchmarks. CEO John Auerbach says Louisiana’s flu vaccine rate is the seventh lowest in the nation.
Governor Edwards revealed his plan to help cover a one-billion-dollar deficit. It includes taxing services such as cable TV, but also reducing the state sales tax from five to four percent. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris says the House Republican delegation is still discussing the best options to address the fiscal cliff. Edwards plans on calling a special session in February to consider his tax proposals.
Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director James Waskom says they plan to work towards having the state officially partner with the Cajun Navy for future disasters. Waskom says it would be beneficial for GOHSEP to know who these people are, and where they are being dispatched to during an emergency.
A River Ridge vet has been arrested after allegedly shooting her neighbor’s dog. 35-year-old Kelly Folse says she killed the dog due to excessive barking and was aggressive. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto says the dog died a day after being shot. Authorities say they didn’t find evidence the dog was aggressive. Folse is charged with aggravated cruelty to animals and possession of narcotics.
Louisiana Tech can finish with a winning record for the 2017 season if it can beat SMU in the Frisco Bowl. It’s been an up and down season for the Bulldogs, who fell short of playing for the Conference USA title. But Bulldogs Coach Skip Holtz says finishing 2017 with a three-game winning streak would be great. You can hear the game this evening starting at 5:30 on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3
LSU is expected to sign nearly 20 players over the next three days as part of the college football new early signing period. In the past recruits had to wait until February to sign, now they can do so in December.
News for Tuesday 121917
By Dave Graichen
The APD reported yesterday that four people have been arrested and charged in connection with a shooting in the city Saturday night that left a 19 year old man on life support. The department announced it had charged 18 year old Donterio Wilson and 17 year old Kevin Thompson, plus two juveniles with first-degree murder and armed robbery. Both Wilson and Thompson were booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center, while the juveniles were taken to a juvenile detention facility.
You may have notices if you were stuck standing in line.. But, Monday was the busiest day of the year for the U-S Postal Service. Spokesperson Twana Barber says If you want your gifts to arrive by Christmas Day, the deadline for first class mail is today.
The Cajun Navy has a new mission, getting people back in their homes in time for Christmas. A February 15th FEMA deadline is looming, where residents who are living in temporary housing face the possibility of paying rent to stay in their FEMA homes. Sondra Richard, a volunteer with the Cajun Navy says the mission is a grassroots, completely volunteer effort to get people back into their homes. They are looking for people who can help with rebuilding and transportation of supplies. The United Cajun Navy is accepting volunteers, more information can be found on their Facebook page.
Governor John Bel Edwards outlined his proposals for closing a $1 billion dollar budget gap, also known as the fiscal cliff. The governor proposes higher sales taxes on utilities that businesses pay, new sales taxes on various services like cable TV and changes to individual income tax brackets. He does not support the renewal of a one-cent temporary sales tax that will expire on June 30th. The governor says he plans to unveil a budget proposal on January 19th, but it will include $1 billion in cuts, since no decision on tax reform will be made until an anticipated February special session.
Hunger Free America has just released a report showing that Louisiana is tied with Mississippi for the second highest food insecurity in the country. Spokesperson Magen Allen of Hunger Free America says the survey shows that 14 percent of working adults in Louisiana suffered from food insecurity at some point between 2014 and 2016. Food insecurity is defined as “when a person is without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.” Another segment that is suffering silently is senior citizens in the state
The ACLU of Louisiana has filed a suit challenging the Webster Parish School District’s alleged practice of subjecting students to school sponsored Christian prayer and other religious rituals. The suit was filed on behalf of Webster Parish parent Christy Cole. ACLU attorney Bruce Hamilton says the suit alleges that Christian prayers are broadcast during morning school . Hamilton says graduation ceremonies have been held inside churches and at times resemble a church service. He says the teaching of evolution and creationism have become blurred at Webster Parish Schools.
The White House says judicial nominee Matthew Peterson has withdrawn his nomination. Peterson failed to answer basic legal questions when questioned by Republican Senator John Kennedy. Kennedy says he had no idea that Peterson had no litigation experience, and said that’s why the Senate holds hearings.
State Representative Chris Broadwater has announced he’s stepping down from the state legislature, so he can spend more time with his family. Broadwater has represented Hammond and parts of Tangipahoa Parish for the last six years. The GOP legislator has a reputation of working with both Republicans and Democrats. We’ve seen a lot of resignations lately because of sexual harassment, but Broadwater made it very clear, a possible scandal is not why he’s stepping down.
Penn National Gaming has purchased Pinnacle Entertainment for 2.8 billion dollars. Pinnacle operates the L’auberge in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, and Boomtown in New Orleans and Bossier City. Wade Duty of the Casino Association of Louisiana says that the buyout won’t lead to big changes for players. He does not anticipate Penn National Gaming expanding their new properties in Louisiana.
A state audit finds the Louisiana Cancer Research Center, created by the state legislature in 2002, has yet to achieve the National Cancer Institute designation, which would open up additional federal funding to improve research and how cancer is treated. The audit notes changes are needed in their administrative structure of the research center in order to achieve the designation.
News for Monday 121817
By Dave Graichen
The flu season is ramping up in the Deep South with the highest number of cases in Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina. The State Health Department’s Dr. Frank Welch says Louisiana has already hit the CDCs highest criteria of widespread for flu activity. The Influenza A strain can make people extremely sick and can even be fatal. Keep in mind, even if you have been vaccinated, this year’s shot is only 30 percent effective against this particular strain. But doctors still recommend you getting it, because the shot protects you from other strains.
The deadline to sign up for health care through the Affordable Care Act has come and gone. Persons need to have health insurance in place for 2018 or pay a penalty. The State Director of Navigators for a Healthy Louisiana Brian Burton says premiums increased for this year, but the government has helped with more subsides, making it more affordable in the long run.
The Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office says they found a man dead inside his vehicle in a cow pasture near Zwolle. 34-year-old Adam Lloyd Jeter was found with several gunshot wounds. Police don’t have a suspect in custody and the investigation continues…
Questions remain surrounding the death of two people found in a St. Landry Parish lake last week. Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says the initial autopsy finds that 21-year-old Lia Ali Kazan of Shreveport and 30-year-old Anthony Michael Murray of Rapides Parish drowned in Lake Dubbusion. Kazan was reported missing while visiting friends in Alexandria. Guidroz says the investigation continues and they are waiting for the toxicology reports…
A Governor’s Task Force to study the state’s sexual harassment policies was chosen Friday. The seven member panel will look at current polices into all state agencies which are under the direction of the Executive Branch. Their first meeting is today. They are required to report back to Governor John Bel Edwards with recommendations no later than March 1st. Their goal is to make sexual harassment policies the same across all offices…
Republican US Senator John Kennedy is receiving national attention for how he grilled a President Trump judicial nominee who had trouble answering basic questions regarding the law. Kennedy says he was just doing his job as he will not just blindly support Matthew Peterson, just because a Republican president nominated him. A vote has not been taken on Peterson’s confirmation.
An LSU Ag Center researcher believes he’s made a breakthrough when it comes to combating chronic wasting disease, mad cow disease and C-J-D, which is found in one-eighth of Alzheimer’s patients. Dr. Frank Bastain has developed a way to grow a bacteria that causes these diseases which makes it possible to develop tests and vaccines for them. Bastian says he hopes to begin working on a vaccine that could potentially cure the disease, especially in humans suffering from C-J-D. It develops in persons between 40 and 80 years old and ninety percent of those infected die with a few weeks to a year.
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade plans to put their bodies in the way of a proposed pipeline that would stretch 162 Miles across south Louisiana. Energy Transfer Partners only needs a couple of permits before they can start construction on the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Bucket Brigade Director Anne Rolfes says they will resist non-violently. Rofles says Energy Transfer Partners has a long history of damaging the environment and shouldn’t be allowed in Louisiana…
The Saints made some mistakes.. but a win is a win.. 31-19 was the final score yesterday as the Sainte defeated the New York Jets. The Saints are now 10 and 4 on the season.
News for Friday 121517
By Dave Graichen
An appeals court has reversed the dismissal of a suit brought by former Cleco shareholders, clearing the way for the three-year-old class action petition to continue.
Plaintiffs in the suit allege that Cleco executives and directors breached their fiduciary duty by pushing through the sale of the company from public to private hands for their own financial benefit, resulting in shareholders receiving less than full value for their shares. The full story can be found online at thetowntalk.com
Former Governor and University of Southwestern Louisiana graduate Kathleen Blanco will give the Commencement address at UL-Lafayette today. Blanco announced last week she is fighting liver cancer. University President Joe Savoie says the plans for her to speak today were made before her latest diagnosis Savoie says Blanco has not only been a great political leader, but is a great person and looks forward to seeing her values shine through in the speech.
Republican U.S. Representative Mike Johnson along with Democratic Florida Representative Charlie Crist have established a bi-partisan Honor and Civility Caucus to restore trust and confidence in American politics. Johnson, who represents the northwestern parishes of Louisiana, says it’s time to change the tone of the way politics is done. Johnson authored the “Commitment to Civility” that’s been signed by over 120 bi-partisan members of Congress to commit to setting an example of personal integrity and mutual respect. He says it’s sad that an issue has to be made about this topic to remind people to be polite.
Through an Executive Order, Governor John Bel Edwards has the created the Governor’s Justice Implementation Oversight Council as a part of the sweeping criminal justice reform effort. A main aspect of the reform effort is the lowering of the state’s incarceration rate, which the Governor’s office says will save the state 78-million-dollars over ten years. The money will be reinvested for programs designed to rehabilitate former inmates into becoming productive citizens.
The state legislative auditor releases findings that point to possible misuse of state dollars and abuse of power by the former Superintendent of State Police Mike Edmonson. During a meeting of the legislative audit advisory council, an auditor who worked on the report gave an example of how Edmonson allegedly used public resources to run errands for his family. The report also details improper use of New Orleans hotel rooms during Mardi Gras. State Auditor Roger Harris says Edmonson and his family lived in a state owned building without proper authority. Edmonson says he plans to respond to the audit by January 15th and believes Louisiana residents will not prematurely reach conclusions until all facts are presented.
A grand jury met for the first time Thursday to determine if 10 LSU fraternity members should be charged in connection with Maxwell Gruver’s suspected hazing death. Gruver’s mother, Rae Ann, spoke on ABC’s Good Morning America yesterday saying the Phi Delta Theta brothers should be charged with murder. The Ten frat members are facing a charge of hazing and one of the accused is also charged with negligent homicide
The U-S Post office says time is running out to make sure your holiday gifts get to your loved ones on time. Spokesperson Twana Barber says all first class mail needs to be at the Post Office by December 19th, priority mail December 20th and December 22nd
for Priority Mail express. She says make sure the name and address of where the gift is going can be clearly seen.
The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is underway for the holiday season. Executive Director Katara Williams says law enforcement officers will be cracking down on drunk driving. She says they want Louisianans to celebrate the holidays responsibly.
A man faces sentencing next month afer he was found guilty of killing a man who allegedly sexually assaulted his then girlfriend. 21-year-old Jace Crehan killed and stuffed 47-year-old Robert Noce Jr. of Zachary in a barrel. Noce pled no contest to the claims of sexual assault before his death.
The Iberville Parish Sheriff’s office has confiscated an eighth-grader’s guns as a result of a threatening Instagram post. Sheriff Brett Stassi says the student admits to taking the picture showing him holding a rifle, but did not write the text telling students to stay home that had parents and law enforcement concerned. Stassi says the Math, Science and Arts Academy campus was opened, once they realized there was not a threat. Stassi says this appears to be a prank that went awry.
The 9-and-4 Saints are preparing to host the New York Jets Sunday. New Orleans is in a tie in the NFC South with Carolina after losing last Thursday to Atlanta. Quarterback Drew Brees says the long week has allowed the team to heal and prepare for the final four games of the regular season.
News for Thursday 121417
By Dave Graichen
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office is trying to figure out how two bodies ended up in Lake Dubbuisson near Ville Platte. Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says they are working with Alexandria Police, because they believe 30-year-old Anthony Michael Murray of Rapides Parish kidnapped 21-year-old Lia Ali Kazan in a motel parking lot.
Autopsies on the bodies will be conducted today.
Governor John Bel Edwards was a surprise visitor at yesterday’s House Republican delegation retreat in New Orleans. Edwards says he spoke to legislators about the looming fiscal cliff as the state is facing a one-point-one billion dollar budget deficit. The governor says the state can make up that revenue by removing dozens of sales tax exemptions. Edwards says it’s his goal not to raise taxes, but some republican legislators say eliminating tax breaks is a tax increase.
Col. Mike Edmonson is under public scrutiny for how he spent taxpayer money during his time as the leader of state police. The legislative auditor has released a preliminary report that shows Edmonson may have received special taxpayer funded treatment for housing, food and chauffer service for his wife.
Louisiana once again ranks 49th out of 50 states in a health ranking report. America’s Health Rankings Annual Report analyzes 35 health guidelines. CEO of United Health Care of Louisiana Joe Ochipinti says the Bayou State ranks near the bottom because a quarter of it’s residents smoke and that in turn raises other health related problems.
Ochipinti says education and healthy lifestyles are the key to lowering sickness and death rates.
A “Report Card on State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools” gives Louisiana schools a “D”, down from a “B” grade just two years ago. Minden State Representative Gene Reynolds authored a 2016 law that requires financial literacy to be taught in high schools, but it appears some schools are only teaching personal finance as another existing course of study.
A white man accused in two racially motivated murders in Baton Rouge pleaded not guilty yesterday to all charges against him. Kenneth James Gleason allegedly fatally shot two black men in September and also fired shots into a home that was occupied by a black family. A trial date has not been set. Prosecutors can seek the death penalty in this case.
The Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office says they’ve arrested and fired one of their deputies after he allegedly wrecked his patrol car while driving intoxicated early yesterday morning. Commander Lonny Cavalier says authorities responded to calls of a vehicle in a ditch and it turned out to be 22-year-old Deputy Joseph Edward Repp of Pierre Part. Cavalier says Repp blew a .09 on the breath test, which is just above the legal limit.
The headquarters for the state Department of Transportation in Baton Rouge were vandalized Tuesday night. Windows on the east side of the building received damage from the gunshots. Senior Trooper Bryan Lee says steps have been taken to ensure the building is secure and it is monitored by the Department of Public Safety.
A Tulane researcher has received a 414-thousand-dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health to study why males have more impulse control issues than females. Director of the Tulane University Brain Institute Jill Daniel says if are able to determine why males are more vulnerable to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and addiction, it will lead to better treatment. Daniel says they know impulsive behavior issues start when a person is a child and continue into adulthood.
A Boutte man is thanking his beloved pup, Rusty, for saving him from a house fire. Calvin Baldwin says he fell asleep on his couch after a long day of watching the high school football championship games in New Orleans when he was woken by Rusty pawing at his hands. Baldwin saw smoke near the bathroom and was able to get out of the house with the dog. It’s believed the fire was started by an electrical spark.
The who man serves as LSU’s General Manager for the football program, Austin Thomas, is leaving for the same job at Tennessee. Thomas is a Tennessee native and has been a critical part of LSU’s recruiting efforts. He was with LSU for four and a half years.
A Kentucky state lawmaker facing sexual assault allegations has apparently killed himself. Officials say Republican Dan Johnson shot himself on the side of a road outside Louisville. A woman told the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting that Johnson sexually assaulted her in 2013. Police did not file any charges against Johnson. The report was published on Monday. Johnson denied it the following day.
News for Wednesday 121317
By Dave Graichen
Police have identified the woman found in a lake in St. Landry Parish. 21-year-old Lia Ali Kazan was reported kidnapped over the weekend while visiting Alexandria. Authorities say a white man’s body was also found Tuesday in the 2007 Ford Taurus that was pulled from Lake Dubuisson. (du-bah-son). The St. Landry Sheriff’s Office says he appears to be in his late 20s to early 30s. His identity is unknown.
A bi-partisan group of 12 governors, including Governor John Bel Edwards, is urging Congress to reauthorize funding for a popular children’s health insurance program as soon as possible. Fresh funding for the $14 billion CHIP program ran out October 1st. In a letter the governor’s say resources are nearly exhausted and some states already have begun to inform families that their children’s coverage may end on January 31.
In order to address the state’s high rates for teen pregnancy and STDs, the Louisiana Public Health Institute has started a new campaign to promote comprehensive sex ed in public schools and at home. Associate Director Kristie Bardell says parents, students, teachers and legislators can log on to geaux-talk-dot-org to receive tips on how to have informed conversations about the value of sexual health. She says a recent study shows 84 percent of Louisiana parents and caregivers believe sex ed is an important part of their students’ curriculum. However, in many school districts in the state sex ed is a low priority.
The Rapides Parish Police Jury was informed Monday the recent sale of SMG, the company that manages the Coliseum, will have little if any effect on day to day operations. SMG, which took over management of the coliseum in September, announced Monday that they had been bought by Canadian private equity firm for an undisclosed amount. The Police Jury turned to SMG when the coliseum struggled to meet revenue projections in the months following a $23 million renovation of the facility. SMG has more than 230 facilities under management, making it a global leader in the industry.
State police report a man driving the wrong way on a Sabine Parish highway collided with another car Monday night. 50 year old Wallace Brumfield from Many was killed in the crash. The driver of the other vehicle received moderate injuries. Troopers believe Alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.
A Lafayette attorney has claimed the $191 million dollar Powerball prize on behalf of a three-member family partnership from the winning ticket in the October 25th drawing sold in Eunice. Louisiana Lottery spokeswoman Kimberly Chopin says the group opted for the cash prize. That boils down to about $119.4 Million dollars. Chopin says the family wants to remain anonymous but released a statement saying they are obviously elated. The payout represents the largest single prize ever won in the Louisiana Lottery’s 26-year history.
The Louisiana Board of Regents has given Grambling State University the green light to proceed with plans to establish the first cybersecurity degree program in the state. Grambling State University President Rick Gallot says an estimated two million cybersecurity workers will be needed by 2019. Once the components are in place, the university will have to go back to the Regents for final approval of the new degree program.
There’s buzz about the possibility of Congressman Ralph Abraham of Richland Parish running for governor in 2019. He says it’s an option he’s considering, but will run for re-election in the 5th Congressional District next year. He says he’d run for governor because he’d like to see less government oversight on a state level.
Small business optimism nationwide is near a record high, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. NFIB State Director Dawn Starns says we haven’t seen this kind of optimism in 34 years, when the economy was booming during the Reagan administration. Starns credits the positivity to the push for tax reform in Washington D.C.
A Saints season ticket holder is asking for a refund due to the National Anthem protests. Lee Dragna of Morgan City is seeking a refund for the tickets and attorney fees. He says he and his family are not able to enjoy the games due to players not standing for the National Anthem. He claims the rowdy, angry reaction of the people around his seats during the protests have made the tickets unusable.
A coalition of student groups called Renew LSU is pushing for university leaders to rename two prominent buildings on campus, Murphy J. Foster Hall and the John M. Parker Agriculture Coliseum. Parker served as governor, but participated in an 1891 lynching of 11 Sicilian immigrants who were allegedly involved in the murder of a New Orleans Police Chief. The group’s spokesperson Savanah Dickinson says because of his actions, they want to rename it in honor of Dr. Pinkie Gordon Lane.
Louisiana’s original craft brewery Abita Brewing Company is helping to celebrate New Orleans’ Tricentennial next year with a new brew called Maison Blanc. Brewmaster Mark Wilson says the concept comes from the area’s long standing history with French culture and lifestyles. They expect to have the new brew available statewide by the first of the year. He says Maison Blanc is combining the best of wine and beer, making it into one delicious recipe.
College football’s first ever early signing period begins a week from today. From December 20th to 22nd, schools can sign high school prospects to national letters of intent. The next signing day will be February 7th. LSU has 20 commitments and Coach Ed Orgeron says it’s their anticipation they’ll sign most of their verbal pledges next week. Orgeron says over half of their commitments are linemen.
News for Tuesday 121217
By Dave Graichen
The St. Landry Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a 21-year-old whose body was found by a fisherman in Lake Dubuisson. Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says the woman’s purse was found and shows a Shreveport address but they believe she was visiting friends in Alexandria. Family members notified deputies she was abducted while here. Guidroz says deputies are hoping to finds a lead to identify a suspect. Authorities are asking anyone who has any information to please contact them.
The RPSO reports criminal scammers are targeting local citizens with phone calls threatening them with arrest and prosecution for failing to comply with jury service in federal or state courts. In the calls, recipients are pressured to bring a "fine payment" for missing jury duty to the Federal Courthouse in Alexandria. Then the victim receives a phone call to "expedite the process" to put the money on a Green Dot Visa Card. The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s office reminds you that this is a scam and something law enforcement would never ask you to do.
A 32-year-old Lafayette man faces up to five years in prison after he admitted to using Donald Trump’s social security number in an effort to get the president’s federal tax information. Court documents say Jordan Hamlett was unsuccessful. He’ll be sentenced at a later time. Legal Analyst Tim Meche says Hamlett will likely get probation or very little time. He says no harm was done by Hamlett’s actions.
Two time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks is coming to Baton Rouge early next year to star in a World War Two era film entitled “Greyhound”. Louisiana Economic Development’s Don Pierson says it will employ over 250 persons in Baton Rouge.
Pre-production started this week and crews are expected to film aboard the U-S-S Kidd on the Mississippi River and other Baton Rouge locations next March.
Gasoline prices are on the decline for the first time in several weeks. Usually they start to fall in October after the summer driving season, but there was a still a strong demand for gasoline in the fall. AAA fuel analyst Don Redman says the current statewide average is $2.26, which is four-cents lower on the week.
Democrat Justin Dewitt of Baton Rouge has announced he plans to run against Republican Congressman Garret Graves next year. Dewitt was born in Sulphur and moved to Zachary, where he graduated from Zachary High School. He says he’s running because Graves does not represent the interests of the 6th Congressional District. As a victim on last year’s historic flood, he says he plans to seriously address flood control. Dewitt says he’s only accepting individual contributions for his campaign.
Totals are in from Friday’s historic snow event. Kentwood saw the most in the state with 6 and a half inches. That’s according to Shawn O’Neil with the National Weather Service in Slidell, who says parts of the Baton Rouge area saw three to five inches.
O’Neil says it’s the biggest snow event in south Louisiana since December of 2008.
Twin brothers who are Gonzales firefighters will appear in the next season of the CBS reality show “The Amazing Race.” 33-year-old Daniel and Eric Guiffreda said they competed against world champion skiers, NBA players, and competitive eater, Joey Chestnut. The show premieres January 3rd on CBS for its 17th season.
An anonymous donor gave one-million-dollars to the University of Louisiana at Monroe. It was given as part of the SOAR Capital Campaign to support the School of Education at ULM. Development Officer of the fund raising effort Morgan Patrick says the donation gets them closer to their 54-million-dollar goal. Dr. Eric Pani, Vice President of Academic Affairs is awed that the donation was given by a retired teacher in the Monroe area who is also a ULM alum.
News for Monday 121117
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana officials on Sunday offered prayers and support to former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who announced she is fighting melanoma in her liver, for which she said there is no cure. The former governor, who served from 2004 to 2008, said she has begun a treatment program but no cure exists for this type of melanoma. She asked for “prayers and loving support” as she continues to undergo treatment.
Court officials say a senior federal judge in Louisiana has died, days before he was to preside over the trial of a private investigator accused of trying to get Donald Trump's tax returns illegally during the presidential campaign. Judge James J. Brady died over the weekend after a short illness. Brady was to preside as jury selection began Monday in the trial of Jordan Hamlett. Brady was nominated to the bench in 1999 by then-President Bill Clinton. Judge Brady was 73.
LaPolitics Weekly reports 5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham is considering a run for governor in 2019. Abraham says he hasn’t made any decisions, but a number of people are asking him about it. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says the Richland Parish physician will need to boost his name recognition. U.S. Senator John Kennedy, Attorney General Jeff Landry and Congressman Garret Graves are a few GOP politicians that are suspected to run against current Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards.
The face-off between state Attorney General Jeff Landry and New Orleans Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell over Cantrell’s possible abuse of a city credit card has sparked accusations of political motivations and set off a round of musical chairs at Criminal District Court over which judge may handle the case. And that’s before Landry has filed any charges over the matter, if he ever does. Landry’s preliminary digging, which apparently is focused on Cantrell alone and comes even as the state legislative auditor is looking into the credit card spending of all seven members of the City Council.
After a timeout in August, the Louisiana Board of Regents is set today to consider tightening the rules on how high school students can earn college credit, without unduly curbing access to the popular classes. The board delayed action on the initial proposal at the request of Gov. John Bel Edwards' office and amid concerns by Jim Henderson, president of the University of Louisiana System. Henderson said the revised draft is far better than the proposed changes unveiled in August, which he said would have overly restricted access to the courses.
The LSU AgCenter has developed a milk-based meal replacement powder to help consumers lose weight. Studies show drinking meal replacement shakes for 12 weeks instead of meals is a safe way to drop pounds. Director of the AgCenter Food Incubator Gaye Sandoz says they’ve developed the powder and now LSU’s Pennington Research Center will test the product.
A Baker woman left an autistic child in a truck with the engine off in 35-degree weather while she played bingo on Friday afternoon, according to a Baker police report.
An anonymous caller told police Friday that someone had been sitting in a truck outside the Baker Bingo Hall for nearly four hours. When officers arrived, they found the person inside the vehicle was a non-verbal, autistic child, according to the police report. The child’s mother was booked in Parish Prison on improper supervision, cruelty to juveniles and child endangerment.
A dozen juvenile whooping cranes have been released at the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge as part of an ongoing effort to protect them from extinction. Biologist Sara Zimorski with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says they are joining eleven juveniles that were released a couple of weeks ago in Vermilion Parish. Whooping cranes are the tallest bird in North America, standing on average five feet tall.
Multiple reports indicate fewer people are watching as much pro football than they used to. Baton Rouge-based Todd Advertising Agency owner Deborah Todd says it’s not just national anthem protests, she says viewer fatigue has also set in, because of an over saturation of NFL games. Todd says cord cutters, households who get rid of cable or satellite TV, is also hurting NFL viewership. She says internet based apps like Netflix, Hulu and Directvnow, is helping to further divide people’s attention away from professional football and it’s cheaper.
News for Friday 120817
By Dave Graichen
A few schools districts decided to play it very safe and are closed today due to the threat of nasty weather overnight.. Avoyelles Parish public and Catholic schools are closed.. as are St. Landry parish public schools, Beauregard parish, Vernon and Evangeline Parish schools .. All Schools in the Alexandria Pineville area are open..
If you are planning on attending the Pineville Christmas parade tonight, bundle up, it will be cold… The parade starts at 7:00 pm at Huey P. Long Hospital Blvd. it will then travel up main street and end at the Trotter Center at Claiborne. The Annual Christmas Parade in Ball it tomorrow starting at 2:30p. And the Alexandria Christmas parade is set for Sunday at 2p
Thursday afternoon it took a 9th Judicial court jury less than an hour to find Akeeley Blade guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Michael Butler during a motel room invasion back in August of last year. No sentencing date was set yet because a hearing will have to be held to determine if Blade, who was17 at the time of the crime, should receive life in prison or be declared eligible for parole after serving 25 years.
The reward for information on the death of a St. Tammany Parish Fire Chief’s wife has been increased to ten-thousand-dollars. Nanette Krentel, the wife of Fire District No. 12 Chief Stephen Krentel, was thought to have died when the couple’s house burned down, but her death was later ruled a homicide.
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed 231-to-198 the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act to allow a person with a concealed carry permit issued in one state to carry a firearm in another state. U.S. Congressman Mike Johnson says by passing this bill, there will be less confusion as to which states allow concealed carry and those that don’t.
With Christmas right around the corner, the Louisiana SPCA encourages people to give the gift of a home to a pet in need through adoption. Spokesperson Alicia Haefele says they’re offering a 50-dollar adoption special until December 23rd. She says last year 222 animals found forever homes during the holiday season. Haefele says this service is available around the state. She says it’s important to make sure everyone adopting a pet understands it’s a life time commitment, not just a holiday gift.
Louisiana Tech in Ruston has been granted 1.3 million dollars to enhance its cybersecurity programs. The money was awarded by the National Science Foundation. U.S. Congressman Ralph Abraham of Alto says LA Tech is a leader in training the next generation of professions that will be tasked with protecting our nation. Louisiana Tech is the first university in the country to establish a Bachelor of Science in Cyber Engineering degree program. Abraham says Louisiana Tech is looking toward the future.
The National Retail Federation predicts holiday shoppers will spend about 967 dollars a person on gifts this year, up 3.4-percent from in 2016. Mark Rosa, Professor with the UNO School of Business, says everybody gets excited during the season and wants to be generous but we have to resist the urge to overspend. He says it’s easy to put purchases on credit cards. It’s much more difficult to pay them off..
News for Thursday 120717
By Dave Graichen
Governor Edwards has established a seven member task force to review sexual harassment and discrimination policies in state agencies. They will review current polices, identify the most effective mode of training to prevent harassment and develop a protocol for new employees The report must be submitted to the Governor no later than March 1. This all comes after Governor Edwards’s staff member Johnny Anderson resigned following sexual harassment allegations…
A new study from the University Council on Gender Equity finds that LSU male professors make more money than female professors. Assistant Accounting Professor Christine Cheng says the data is missing variables such as experience, education and other market factors. But she says additional research needs to be done when outside information is used…
The embattled National Flood Insurance Program is set to expire on Friday if Congress doesn’t take some sort of action. The House has already passed a five-year re-authorization of the NFIP, but the Senate is very wrapped up in dealing with the tax reform legislation right now. Lafayette Congressman Clay Higgins predicts there will be a brief extension to buy some time.
Louisiana’s Medicaid program is spending at a slower pace than expected. The forecast shows they may spend as much as 650-million-dollars less, which could give the program a surplus in six months. 30-million-dollars of that money would go to a state general fund surplus that could be spent elsewhere in state government.
You may be thinking about using heaters and fireplaces to keep you warm now that winter weather has arrived. The chances for house fires increases, especially if proper precautions are not followed. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says it’s not advisable to use space heaters for an extended period of time.
The holiday season is supposed to be a joyous time but can often be overwhelming, causing seasonal depression. Our Lady of the Lake Psychiatric Nurse Glenda Natale says this time of year, they receive more calls for help dealing with the holiday blues. She says we live in a perfectionist society. Natale says people who feel like they don’t have a strong support system are at a higher risk for developing holiday depression. She suggests getting out to volunteer or befriending a neighbor, rather than dwelling on past memories with people who are no longer with you.
The 2017 Allstate Sugar Bowl—L-H-S-A-A Prep Classic begins today and runs through Saturday at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Nine state champions will be crowned over the next three days and Association Executive Director Eddie Bonine says they anticipate several close games.
The recent cold snap could bring central and south east Louisiana some wintry precipitation tonight into Friday morning. State Climatologist Barry Keim says even though the air temperature will stay above freezing, you may still see freezing precipitation. Sunny but still cold weather is expected to return by the weekend. Temperatures will remain in the 50’s for the majority of the state.
The New Orleans Saints are set to square off against the Atlanta Falcons tonight in a key NFC South showdown. Quarterback Drew Brees says the short week can make it difficult to prepare, but he knows the Falcons will be ready with some new tricks up their sleeve. Kickoff is tonight at 7:25 at Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta. Saints running back Mark Ingram is listed as questionable with a toe injury.
News for Wednesday 120617
By Dave Graichen
Health officials are concerned that Louisiana might have a severe flu season. There are more cases of flu here and in Alabama than elsewhere in the country. Louisiana Department of Health Doctor Frank Welch says there are more medical visits for the flu than there should be this early in the season. Some officials warn this year’s flu vaccine may only be ten percent effective against the “A” strain of the virus. Welch is concerned that this influenza will cause several problems the current vaccine does not immunize against.
A cold front has crossed the state, bringing Louisiana its coldest weather of the season. State Climatologist Barry Keim says we can expect to see clouds and lingering rain through tomorrow. He says break out the sweaters and winter coats as highs won’t get out of the 40’s today. Keim says by Friday and over the weekend, we’ll see temperatures in the 30s in the morning with afternoon highs in the 50s.
Over the past few weeks, he has made two trips to Washing DC to testify that Louisiana’s voting system is unhackable. But now Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler says they are looking at replacing the state’s voting machines. Schedler says tampering with the current machines is remote, but a new system would further decrease the chances of tampering. He is awaiting approval from the state Division of Administration.
John Schroder was sworn in last night as Louisiana’s next state treasurer after being chosen by a record low number of voters in the November 18th runoff. John Kennedy stepped down from the position to become a U.S. Senator.
Singer John Mayer cancelled last night’s New Orleans show with Dead and Company, a Grateful Dead revival band after he underwent an emergency appendectomy. There is no word on when a concert will be rescheduled. Ticket holders can either ask for a refund or use their tickets at the rescheduled show.
Two Slidell Junior High School students are arrested after allegedly bringing a firearm to school. Police received a crime stoppers tip that a 14-year-old boy brought the weapon while a 12-year-old boy showed the weapon to several students. The younger boy also went as far as pointing it at another student and making threats on social media. Both suspects are in custody at the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center.
Denham Springs Police have arrested a man who allegedly tried to rob a woman at gunpoint during a sale of an XBOX video game. The victim told police that she met Michael Mitchell at a bank parking lot, when Mitchell drew a gun. The victim screamed and Mitchell fled from the scene in a car. He was later found at a Baton Rouge restaurant where he was taken into custody. The victim identified him in a police lineup. He is in custody on a 100-thousand-dollar bond.
State Police and the FBI seek the public’s help in the apprehension of suspects involved in two bank robberies in north Louisiana. The Guaranty Bank in Epps was robbed November 10th. Seventeen days later the Barksdale Federal Credit Union in Cotton Valley was held up. State Police say the suspected man and woman hid their identities, but they believe both robberies are connected. A reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrests of the suspects.
Facebook plans to launch a new app for kids so they can message their friends with the approval of their parents. It’s called Messenger Kids and is aimed at children under 13 LSU Mass Communications Professor Lance Porter says this new app is a way to reduce the exposure to things kids are not ready to developmentally deal with.
The Richwood Rams of Monroe in Ouachita Parish will play in the 3A State Championship against West Feliciana at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans Friday. There are many fans that want to go watch, but can’t afford to make the long trip. Tyron Dickens is trying to help raise money through his non-profit program K-9 Outreach and he says donations have started coming in. This is the first time since 1974 that the Rams have been involved in a state championship game.
There has been a lot of buzz over the Instagram post by LSU star running back Derrius Guice which says he will decide whether to enter the draft after the Citrus Bowl against Notre Dame. The junior is expected to be selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft if he leaves early. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says he would be shocked if Guice stayed another year..
News for Tuesday 120517
By Dave Graichen
It’s going to get cold real fast in the Bayou State as a major weather system begins affecting the state today. National Weather Service says thunderstorms are a good possibility with this arctic blast…Temps will peak early and will begin to drop during the afternoon. The good news is, after the front moves through, the clouds will give way to a sunny, but cold temperatures for the latter half of the week into the weekend.
The Department of Health has gotten better about erroneously making Medicaid payments to deceased recipients over the last four years, but still has work to do. A new report from the state’s Legislative Auditor found LDH made nearly $718,000 in improper payments between July 2013 and August 2017. Performance Audit Manager Chris Magee says LDH has improved since 2013.
Louisiana is one of a dozen states asking the US Supreme Court to block a California law which states any eggs sold in California must come from hens who have been able to stretch their limbs in their cages. In most cases, chickens we eat and get eggs from live in cages so small they can’t turn around. State Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says California can pass whatever law they want, but saying that their standards should apply to all eggs shipped into their state violates the Commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. Strain says, at the end of the day, this would inhibit the free flow of products across state lines.
Three people, including the President of the East Baton Rouge Parish NAACP have sued Baton Rouge Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wilson and the city. They claim they were allegedly removed during a public comment portion of a council meeting after wanting to discuss the Alton Sterling case. Their attorney says since it was during the public comment part of the meeting, they had a right to speak, even though it wasn’t on the agenda.
Allegations against Louisiana State Police have been flying after investigations into the LACE program and troopers taking a side trip while driving to a conference. Superintendent Kevin Reeves says changes have been made when it comes to deciding disciplinary action. He says now a case goes before the Disciplinary Review Panel. Reeves says the Panel ensures that all decisions regarding troopers’ actions are decided in a way where no one receives special treatment from the Superintendent.
Funeral services have been announced for Acadiana area visionary and UL-Lafayette supporter Judge Kaliste (collie) Saloom Jr., Saturday at 10am at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Lafayette. The 99-year-old former Lafayette City judge died over the weekend following a short illness. Visitation will be Friday at Martin and Castile’s downtown Lafayette location.
Southern Mississippi and Florida State will play in Walk-On’s Independence Bowl in Shreveport on Wednesday December 27th. The Seminoles won’t have head coach Jimbo Fisher who left for Texas A & M. I-Bowl spokesman Stefan Nolet says they hope this game marks the beginning of better times for Florida State and their fans.
Louisiana Tech is heading to a bowl game for a fourth consecutive season as they’ll play SMU in the first ever Frisco Bowl on December 20th in Frisco, Texas. Bulldogs Head Coach Skip Holtz says they look forward to the matchup against the 7-5 Mustangs.
News for Monday 120417
By Dave Graichen
The Alexandria Zoning Commission will meet today at 4 to discuss the possibility of rezoning the former Cavalier Motel property on Masonic Drive from part commercial, part single family housing to entirely commercial. The Greater Alexandria Economic Development Authority, which owns the property, has agreed to sell it to a developer for a new Family Dollar store, but the zoning variance must be granted before the sale is finalized.
Over the weekend, Alex Winter Fete had an incredible run. The near perfect weather and an amazing line up of family entertainment led to large crowds each night. Estimates have the crowds at over 40,000 for the event. All in all, a great success..
In Natchitoches, record crowds were also reported for that city’s Christmas festival.
Both of Louisiana’s U-S Republican Senators voted for the tax bill that was approved on a 51-49 vote. Senior Senator Bill Cassidy says it will cut taxes for working families in Louisiana. John Kennedy says the non-partisan Tax Foundation says Louisiana will see an increase of 12-thousand jobs and the average family will gain 18-hundred dollars in after-tax income. But Louisiana Budget Project Director Jan Moller says only the wealthy will get a tax break, while low-income and middle-class Americans would face a tax increase.
For the second straight year, LSU is headed to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando and this year they’ll play Notre Dame. Last year the Tigers trounced Louisville 29-9 on New Year’s Eve. This year’s game will be played on New Year’s Day at noon in Camping World Stadium.
Shreveport police have arrested a 16-year-old who allegedly threatened to shoot his classmates at Caddo Magnet High School. Investigators say the troubled teen also surfed the internet on how to make bombs and watched videos of other school shootings. Authorities seized undisclosed items from his home and the suspect was booked on one count of terrorizing.
There are reports Smoothie King is looking at moving its corporate headquarters from Metairie to Texas. A five-year deal between Louisiana and the fruit drink maker expires at the end of the year. Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says under the deal set to expire, the state pays Smoothie King, who employs about 60 people, hundreds of thousands of dollars in incentives. Pierson says Louisiana Economic Development will work with Smoothie King to explore all options for them to remain in the state.
After a third consecutive losing season, UL Lafayette has fired head coach Mark Hudspeth. Athletic Director Bryan Maggard informed Hudspeth of his decision Sunday morning following the team’s 63-14 loss to Appalachian State. Hudspeth directed the school to four straight New Orleans Bowl titles from 2011 to 2014, but because of NCAA sanctions, UL Lafayette was forced to forfeit 22 victories, including two bowl wins.
Broussard Police say the man that held up the First Community Bank on Monday is now in custody. 29-year-old Jeremi Raymond of New Iberia allegedly wounded one of the bank tellers when he fired his weapon. Broussard Police Chief Brennan Decou says Raymond, who is a convicted felon, faces several charges.
A newly released 300-page State Police report provided to the Advocate, shows former LSP Superintendent Mike Edmonson retired last March after learning some troopers were being internally investigated after claiming overtime and expensive hotel stays in Arizona and Nevada on taxpayers money. President of the Metropolitan Crime Commission Rafael Goyeneche (go-en-nech-che) says Edmonson’s tampering with key evidence could bring felony charges, including obstruction of justice…
A new addiction treatment center is opening on the Northshore. The ten-million-dollar Longbranch Recovery Center will open around the first of the year in Abita Springs. Longbranch Healthcare CEO Chris McMahon, sober for 17 years, says he wants to do his part in helping those who need it the most. McMahon says the location of the facility was as important as treating the patient. He says the former Longbranch Hotel in Abita Springs is a now a 32-bed facility that will be able to house patients during 30 to 90 day treatment programs
The Saints regained control of the NFC South with a convincing 31-21 win over the Carolina Panthers. The Atlanta Falcons also lost, so now New Orleans has a one-game lead over the Panthers and a two-game lead over the Dirty Birds for the division lead. Quarterback Drew Brees threw for 269 yards and one touchdown in the victory. The Saints are 9-3 heading into a Thursday night showdown with the Falcons.
News for Thursday 113017
By Dave Graichen
The city of Alexandria’s Christmas festival starts tonight as Alex Winter Fete kicks off with downtown being illuminated with Christmas lights. Community Services Director for Alexandria, Robert Weeks, says the festival runs through Saturday night and visitors will enjoy live music, food, an Indie Village and everyone’s favorite; ice-skating.
State police report a two vehicle accident yesterday afternoon claimed the life of a Moreauville man. The accident occurred on Hwy 1 and 1195. Troopers say 59 year old Terrell Ducote was killed when he lost control of his motorcycle, crossed the centerline of the highway and hit a pickup head on. Ducote was wearing a helmet, but was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the pickup, who authorities say was wearing a seatbelt, was uninjured.
The Governor’s Office is hosting a series of human trafficking summits and one of them is today here in Alexandria. The goal is to highlight information regarding existing services, protocols and community response to human trafficking victims. Director of the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet Dr. Dana Hunter says they want to make sure different local and state agencies have the resources to tackle this problem. The next summit will be held in Shreveport on December 13th.
The State Police is alerting the public about fraudulent LSP solicitation phone calls. Troopers say the impersonators contact the phones of potential victims by using a call that appears to be originating from Troop A. The caller is pretending to be law enforcement and attempting to gain personal information. They remind you to never give unsolicited callers any personal information.
The 2017 hurricane comes to an end today and it will go down as one of the most active seasons we have seen. Hurricanes Nate and Tropical Storms Cindy and Harvey made landfall in Louisiana this year. State Climatologist Barry Keim says overall, many records going back 167 years were tied.
The current La Nina pattern is to blame for the recent arid conditions in Louisiana. An updated three month forecast from the Climate Prediction center is due today and State Climatologist Barry Keim says he expects more of the same. He says this strong La Nina will keep moisture from coming south. Keim says he expects parishes will start issuing burn bans soon..
State senator Sharon Hewitt of Slidell is calling on Louisiana Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera to review the state’s sexual harassment policies and she also wants an investigation into the hiring of Johnny Anderson. Anderson is a former aide to Governor Edwards, who resigned last week after sexual harassment allegations surfaced. Hewitt is seeking recommendations on how the state can strengthen its policies, procedures and laws pertaining to sexual harassment.
Matt Lauer of the Today Show is now another prominent figure to be fired after being accused of sexual harassment. LSU Health New Orleans Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Michelle Many believes the general consciousness of sexual harassment has been raised over the last 10 years allowing for more victims to be taken seriously. She says it’s time for employers to take another look at this issue.
A Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s deputy was involved in a shooting after responding to a burglary. Authorities say 45-year-old David Rozas broke into the home of his estranged wife and refused to put a gun down when police arrived. Rozas raised the gun toward the deputy and the deputy fired. Rozas began firing back at the deputy, causing the deputy to continue to fire, hitting Rozas several times. Rozas was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He faces multiple charges including attempted first degree murder of a police officer.
North Korea launched a ballistic missile yesterday that landed in the Sea of Japan. Retired U.S. Army Lt. General Russel Honore says the 33-year-old leader of North Korea is ordering these strikes to act like he has a seat at the table with powerful countries like the U.S. But he says if Kim Jong Un tries to go to war with us, he will lose.
The St. Bernard Parish District Attorney’s Office announces the Chalmette man accused of murdering his ex-wife with an axe in September won’t face the death penalty. Mark Owens is charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. Authorities say Owens hid under his ex-wife’s bed at her house, waited until she left for work, then attacked her in the front yard.
News for Wednesday 112917
By Dave Graichen
The suspected killer accused in the random shooting deaths of three people has pleaded not guilty to two of the murders which occurred in East Feliciana Parish. 36-year-old Ryan Sharpe entered two pleas yesterday and requested a public defender. Sharpe also allegedly shot and killed a man in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Governor John Bel Edwards participated in a criminal justice reform event organized by the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington DC yesterday. The Edwards Administration helped passed ten new laws allowing for the early release of non-violent prisoners. Nearly two-thousand were released earlier this month. U.S. Senator John Kennedy says Edwards criminal justice reform effort isn’t working, saying some who were released under the new guidelines are already back in jail. But, the numbers don’t support Kennedy’s claims.. Nearly 2,000 non-violent prisoners were released as part of the reform program. Fewer than 10 have returned to jail.
A new report from Wallet hub ranking which states are the most charitable, is giving Louisiana low marks.. Charitable was defined in the report as “volunteering and service” and “charitable giving." Utah came in at #1 as the most charitable state in the nation. Louisiana came in at #47, #50 being the least charitable. That distinction by the way went to Hawaii.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler is today slated to once again testify before a US House committee that there is no need to worry that elections in Louisiana are being hacked by Russians. Schedler says the main concern is over online voter registration lists, but Louisiana was not one of the states identified as a target of hackers during last year’s election.
Kyle Duncan, the Louisiana nominee for the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals seat will go before the Senate Judiciary committee today. Attorney General Jeff Landry has been lobbying for Duncan, who was nominated by President Donald Trump. He says especially for conservatives, this is an easy selection. Senator John Kennedy sits on the committee and has yet to make a decision on if Duncan should be judge. Landry says it’s a bit odd that Kennedy is taking so long to decide on an individual with Duncan’s record and skill set.
State Police say a 49-year-old Slidell man was killed when a boat struck his vehicle while he was traveling in St. James Parish. Trooper Jesse LaGrange says the boat trailer detached from a vehicle that was towing it, striking David Burvant’s vehicle. Burvant died from his injuries.
A 17-year-old, who was on the football team at North Webster High School in Springhill, was fatally shot Monday night and police are searching for the gunman. Police say a 45-caliber pistol was used to shoot Jaylen Thomas. 16 shots were fired and police say they have a person of interest.
A Livingston Parish woman is under arrest after allegedly falsely claiming she was raped by a sheriff’s deputy. 38-year-old Sherri Penton claimed a deputy sexually assaulted her in his car after meeting on an internet dating site. The trooper claimed the sex was consensual. State police says they didn’t find evidence in the deputy’s car. Penton is at the East Baton Rouge Jail.
Its Grambling State versus Alcorn State for a third consecutive season in Saturday’s SWAC Championship game in Houston. The winner advances to play North Carolina A-and-T in the Celebration Bowl on December 16th in Atlanta.
LSU Head Football Coach Ed Orgeron has said he expects offensive coordinator Matt Canada will seek a head coaching job. Football analyst Mike Detillier says there appears to be a rift between Coach “O” and Canada and he believes the young play caller has coached his last game at LSU.
News for Tuesday 112817
By Dave Graichen
17 year old Camryn Lasyone of Alexandria was sentenced yesterday to 25 years in prison, with 10 suspended, for his part in the beating death of a Lecompte man. Lasyone admitted that he was present at the former Motel 6 in August 2015 when he and two others barged into the room of 54-year-old Michael Butler. But he denied beating Butler, who later died from his injuries. Lasyone pled guilty to manslaughter in a plea deal. The original charge was 1st degree murder.
During the Thanksgiving weekend, State Police investigated four fatal crashes, the same number as last year. Sgt. Jared Sandifer says typically fatal crashes around this time are a result of drunk driving or not wearing a seat belt. But this year it seemed like the common theme was hit and runs.
State Police have arrested a Slidell man in a fatal hit and run of a bicyclist, after cops tracked the suspect down by following a trail of vehicle fluid from the scene of the crash. Authorities say the suspect pulled the man and his bike from his windshield and though him in a ditch before he could escape the scene...
State Police continue to look for the driver of a pickup truck after a man riding in the bed of the truck, fell out and died in Winn Parish Sunday morning. Master Trooper Scott Moreau says Troopers are still trying to determine how 21-year-old Hunter Thomisee of Montgomery fell out and why he was in the bed of the pickup. Moreau says while they continue the investigation, they need the public’s help to find the vehicle and it’s driver
Spare the rod, spoil the child.. That apparently doesn’t apply to a belt. A 38-year-old father is charged with cruelty to a juvenile after allegedly beating his son with a belt for getting suspended from school. Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Don Coppola says Edward Humphrey dropped the child off at his mother’s workplace, who called police about her 11-year-old son’s injuries. Coppola says the father’s discipline went too far.
Starting this week, nearly 500 Louisiana educators will begin training to become mentors to future teachers. This is the first step in a three-year effort to train at least 25-hundred public school teachers. Assistant Superintendent for Talent Hannah Dietsch says nearly 500 veteran educators were nominated by their local school systems to participate in the mentor training program.
Authorities say two suspects linked to the fatal shootings of four people in Zachary and East Feliciana was arrested in Alabama. Ike Hamilton is being charged with multiple counts of 2nd-degree murder. Zachary Police Chief David McDavid says they also learned that Hamilton’s mother, Belinda Folse, was responsible for taking her son to Alabama.
Former LSU Head Football Coach Les Miles is sticking around Baton Rouge. Reports indicate Miles has purchased a home in the Settlement at Willow Grove for one-point-three-million-dollars. He recently sold his home in Bocage Lakes for one-point-45-million-dollars. He still owns a lot there. He is currently working as a television analyst for FOX and ESPN.
The swearing-in ceremony for John Schroder as State Treasurer will take place on Tuesday, December 5th. Schroder, a Republican, received 56 percent of the vote, to Democratic opponent Derrick Edwards’ 44 percent during the November 18th runoff election. The turnout was record-low.
LSU will rename multiple streets on campus, including Raphael Semmes Road, which was named after a Confederate officer. LSU Mass Communication professor Bob Mann says earlier this year, his students looked at street names and buildings that should be changed. Raphael Semmes Road will be changed to Veterans Drive. Mann says in reality, Semmes had almost no association with the university.
With his 347 yard passing performance in the victory over Texas A-and-M, LSU’s Danny Etling became the fifth quarterback to throw for over 2,000 yards in multiple seasons. Jeff Wickersham, Zach Mettenberger, Toddy Hodson and JaMarcus Russell are the others. In 12 games this season, Etling has thrown for 2,234 yards, 14 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Etling is glad he ended up at LSU.
News for Monday 112717
By Dave Graichen
State Police are investigating a single vehicle crash that killed a young man from Montgomery shortly before 2am Sunday. Police report 21 year old Hunter Thomisee who was riding in the bed of a pickup truck, fell out of the vehicle and into the roadway.
The crash remains under investigation. Anyone with information, regarding this crash, is asked to call Troop E.
Governor John Bel Edwards is voicing his frustration with the 13-percent turnout for the November 14th election. Edwards says everyone has the freedom to vote or not vote, but it’s something you would think residents would do. He says it’s more convenient than ever to vote with seven days of early voting, but still it seems there’s lower turnout than ever. Edwards says it’s likely voter apathy is keeping residents away from the polls.
After months of grinding negotiations over the future of the National Flood Insurance Program, lawmakers return to Capitol Hill on Monday with less than two weeks before the program expires.
Despite progress in the U.S. House of Representatives before Congress split town for its Thanksgiving break, deep and longstanding divisions remain over the federal program, which is heavily in debt and now facing billions in claims from victims of a spate of destructive hurricanes this year. Members of Congress and those keeping a close eye on the flood insurance debate are increasingly expecting the Dec. 8 deadline to come and go without a comprehensive, long-term reauthorization for the program. Instead, most are now hoping for a shorter deal to temporarily extend the program — possibly for six months or a year — to buy more time for negotiations on a more comprehensive set of reforms.
An aide to Governor Edwards has resigned as a result of sexual harassment allegations. Anderson was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Programming and Planning. He told the Advocate he’s innocent, but doesn’t want to be a distraction as he attempts to clear his name.
Construction begins today on a new oyster reef in Calcasieu Lake near Lake Charles. About 12,500 cubic yards of crushed limestone will be spread on the lake bottom to create 100 acres of artificial oyster reef. Assistant Secretary for Fisheries Patrick Banks says it will increase oyster and seafood production. Oyster reefs have been constructed in Calcasieu Lake since 1963. They were smaller in size, anywhere from 18 to 59 acres. Banks says more money is allowing them to do a much larger project.
November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. National Hospice and Palliative Care President and CEO Edo Banach (Ban-ick) says about 50 percent of Louisiana Medicare decedents were enrolled in hospice at the time of death. Banach says although it may be difficult to discuss, the holiday season provides an opportunity to discuss advance care planning with loved ones. Banach says every adult should complete an advance directive and appoint a health care proxy or else your end of life decisions will be taken out of your hands…
There was no happy ending in Los Angeles for the Saints, who had their eight-game winning streak snapped by the up and coming Rams. New Orleans had trouble getting its offense going and the defense missed its top two cornerbacks, who are injured. Coach Sean Payton says L-A was the better team in the 26-20 win. The loss drops the Saints record to 8-3 and into a first place tie with Carolina for first place in the NFC South. New Orleans and the Panthers meet this Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Texas A&M has fired coach Kevin Sumlin after six winning seasons, just a day after losing to LSU 45-21 at Tiger Stadium.
So now that the regular season is over for the LSU Tigers, what bowl game will they play in? Jerry Palm does bowl projections for CBS Sports and he expects the Tigers will be in Florida on New Year's Day. Palm says he currently has them in the Outback Bowl. If LSU goes to the Outback Bowl, they'll play a team from the Big 10.
News for Wednesday 112217
By Dave Graichen
AAA predicts nearly 51-million people will travel 50 miles or more for the Thanksgiving holiday, a three-percent increase from last year and it’s the highest number since 2005. AAA spokesman Don Redman says gas prices are about 35-cents higher than last year, but that’s not stopping the expected 45-million that will hit the highways..
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reminds holiday chefs to be conscious of food safety. Sarah Lichtman with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service says the first step is cleaning your hands and surfaces before and after touching raw meats. She says it’s also important to make sure you cook your turkey to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and don’t forget about leftovers sitting out on the table. Now where this reporter disagrees with Lichtman, She debunks the need to clean poultry before you cook it.. If you have ever seen chicken or turkeys processed I am sure you, as well, would disagree..
The lines have become blurred between family traditions on Thanksgiving and getting the good deals before everyone else to kick off the holiday shopping season. National Retail Federation’s Ana Serafin Smith says many stores are opening earlier on Thanksgiving this year. According to best-black-Friday-dot-com, 38 retail chains will be open Thursday. They include Best Buy, JcPenney,’s, Sears, Walmart and numerous others. Most other retailers will remain closed until early afternoon.
A report by Well Being Trust finds the state’s drug, alcohol and suicide death rate could increase 42-percent in the next decade. Chief Policy Officer Ben Miller says the opioid epidemic is at the root of this upsetting report. The report outlines a strategy of prevention, early identification and treatment for those addicted to opioids.
The Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program has offered grant awards for nearly 31-hundred homeowners affected by the floods in 2016, totaling nearly 92-million dollars. Office of Community Development Executive Director Pat Forbes says these funds are helping people rebuild their homes and many of the homeowners are reimbursed for work already done. Over 38-thousand homeowners have qualified to receive assistance.
The man accused of fatally shooting two people at Grambling State University last month appeared in court Tuesday and plead not guilty on two counts of first degree murder. 19-year-old Jaylin Wayne’s next court appearance is in March.
On the second anniversary of his election, Governor John Bel Edwards sent an email to supporters asking for donations for his upcoming reelection battle. The governor’s latest campaign finance report shows he has 3.3 million dollars on hand but Political Analyst Clancy Dubos says Edwards will need every penny he can get. Dubos says if Edwards is able to help solve Louisiana’s fiscal problems, it will help his re-election chances.
Delhi Senator Francis Thompson, who has served in the state legislature for 40 years, has announced he is battling prostate cancer. Despite this health scare, the chairman of the Senate Ag committee plans to be ready for the next legislative session. The 76-year-old will have surgery in Baton Rouge next month.
News for Tuesday 112117
By Dave Graichen
A report finds that black students in Louisiana public schools are twice as likely as white students to face suspensions. The study also finds low-income students are likely to face longer suspension than non-low-income children. Researcher Nathan Barrett hopes school officials look at the report to reduce discipline disparities based on race and income.
A state audit finds that the Louisiana Department of Health is not calculating Medicaid rates for nursing facilities accurately. Louisiana Legislative Office Director of Performance Audits Karen LeBlanc says they discovered 19.7 million dollars the state could have saved this past year was spent on patients not covered by Medicaid. Medicaid payments to the 260 private nursing home facilities in Louisiana reached one-billion-dollars last year, yet nursing home populations went up less than one-percent. LeBlanc says better procedures are needed to ensure the nursing homes are compensated accurately.
State Police is reminding holiday travelers that buzzed driving is drunk driving. Sgt. James Anderson says 10 people died and over 700 injured in crashes in Louisiana during the last Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Anderson says troopers will be out in full force under the Zero Deaths for the Holidays campaign to put an end to drunk driving.
There’s good and bad news when it comes to holiday shopping here in Louisiana. The good news, Holiday shopping is expected to increase this Christmas. That’s the view of LSU Marketing Professor Dan Rice who says households have largely recovered from the 2016 floods and the state’s unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since 2008…The bad news, experts say says consumers will keep using the internet to fill out their shopping lists, rather than shopping local.
A year after thousands of homes flooded in Livingston Parish, residents in the eastern part of the parish said "no" to tax proposals that would have paid for drainage improvements. Residents living east of Walker were faced Saturday with ballot proposals that would have funded gravity drainage districts, local boards that oversee off-road drainage maintenance and cleaning. Passing the tax would have created the first Livingston Parish-wide system of drainage districts. But residents issued a clear "no," to both proposals. Parish officials say they are at a total loss to explain the vote.
Human remains have been found in Amite in Tangipaoha Parish. A rabbit hunter made the discovery Monday. Police believe they are the remains of a middle aged man. The cause of death remains uncertain. The investigation continues.
A Shreveport man and two others are dead after a medical helicopter crashed in eastern Arkansas Sunday night. 26-year-old John Auld III was on the flight that went down about 60 miles southeast of Little Rock. The helicopter was flying from Pine Bluff to DeWitt.
The woman who was found fatally shot Sunday night in St. Claude is the mother of a 7-year-old boy that was reported missing. New Orleans Police say the child has been found safe and was with a neighbor when the incident occurred. Authorities made the connection that the missing child was the son of the deceased after the investigation was launched.
Monday in Atlanta, the Georgia Dome was imploded after 25 years in existence. Meanwhile, the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans continues to be one of the top entertainment venues. Alan Freeman, General Manager of the Dome, credits the success of the Superdome to the great relationship they have with the New Orleans Saints. He says the state owns the arena and provides the funds to keep up with improvements as the building ages, especially after Hurricane Katrina did major damage. Freeman says the Superdome is a viable building and in a city that thrives on hosting major events.
State District Judge Trudy White likened the actions of a 46-year-old Baton Rouge man convicted of human trafficking to those that participated in the African slave trade before sentencing him Monday to 40 years in prison. Carlos Lampley was found guilty in May on one count each of trafficking a child for sexual purposes, human trafficking and attempted human trafficking.
News for Tuesday 111417
By Dave Graichen
The state police report a suspect in an Alexandria kidnapping and rape was caught Monday in Grant Parish after a chase. 40-year-old Edward Williams would not stop for law enforcement on La. Highway 8 yesterday and after a short chase, he jumped from the car and ran. State Police Troopers were able to quickly take him into custody. Shortly thereafter, Alexandria authorities took custody of Williams. He is now facing multiple charges.
Governor John Bel Edwards says Virginia-based DXC Technology will open a New Orleans office that will employ two-thousand people. Officials are calling it the single largest jobs announcement in the city’s modern history. An exact location for the facility has yet to be decided, but it will be downtown. Average salaries of for those working there will be 63-thousand dollars.
LSU Athletics Director Joe Alleva says the elimination of tax break in the GOP tax reform bills could be disastrous for big-time collegiate athletics. LSU and many other schools require donations to purchase tickets to athletic events and Alleva is concerned those donations will go away, if fans can no longer claim 80-percent of the donation as a tax deduction. Alleva says LSU receives about 50-million dollars from this revenue stream.
U.S. Senator John Kennedy has written an op-ed piece to the Washington Examiner entitled “Please stop having children you aren’t willing to raise.” In the piece, Kennedy implores parents that if they are drug users or if the child would be born to a fatherless house, to think twice about bringing lives into the world. Kennedy says too many parents are failing their children these days in Louisiana. He says thousands of children are in the state’ foster care system and those who fail to find a good foster care home end up struggling in life.
Today, the Governor will begin traveling with Ag Commissioner Mike Strain on a listening tour with farmers across Louisiana to hear their concerns. Today’s stops will be in Mooringsport and Bastrop. Later this week they will be in Arnaudville, Ferriday, Slaughter and Ville Platte.
The latest poll on the New Orleans Mayors race is out. LaToya Cantrell continues to hang on to a double-digit lead over Desiree Charbonnet, according to UNO pollster Ed Chervenak, 46 percent to 35 percent, with 19 percent still undecided.
Expectations of a bumper pecan crop in Louisiana this year have been lowered due to unfavorable weather, but that shouldn’t affect your pies for the holidays. That’s according to LSU AgCenter Associate Professor Charlie Graham, who says pecans are still in greater supply than last year.
Reports indicate a Louisiana man was arrested trying to cross into North Korea. The man was detained by South Korean forces before he could cross the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two countries. The 58-year-old is identified as “A”. The Washington Post says he was trying to enter North Korea for “political purposes.”
If you want to know if the flu bug has invaded your neighborhood, a new phone app called Sickweather has been designed with you in mind. Founder and CEO Graham Dodge says they use the public’s help to track when there’s an outbreak of various illnesses from the common cold to the flu. Dodge says the app will alert you when you are entering an area where there’s been a large of number of verified illnesses reported. The app is currently available on Google Play and the Apple store for free.
For the third time this year, LSU linebacker Devin White has been named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week. The sophomore from Springhill, Louisiana had 14 tackles in the Tigers 33-10 win over Arkansas.
News for Monday 111317
By Dave Graichen
A pilot was killed when a small plane crashed in Rapides Parish, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The single-engine private airplane was found in thick brush between Lake Buhlow and the Veterans Administration Medical Center. Further details, including the name of the pilot or where he was going, have not been released. The FAA is investigating the crash.
There’s an estimated 600-thousand Louisiana adults who lack a high school diploma. Now, a program called WorkReady U is attempting to grow Louisiana’s workforce by helping to educate the 600-thousand Louisiana’s adults who do not have a high school diploma. Jason Beard is the senior manager for a nonprofit group called Educational Testing Service, which offers adults looking to better their education a chance at passing the High School Equivalency Test. More information can be found online at yesyoucan.la
It appears the state AG didn’t have his fact straight after all. The state Department of Health announces new data shows there are fewer opioids being prescribed since Medicaid expansion began in July 2016. This comes amid recent claims by Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry that the better access to healthcare is fueling the opioid crisis. But, the state Board of Pharmacy says there was a 2 percent reduction in the number of opioid prescriptions from the year before Medicaid expansion to the year after.
Four Baton Rouge police officers have been placed on paid administrative leave following allegations of possible payroll fraud. A source told WAFB TV that they include two sergeants. The information comes on the heels of similar allegations involving the Louisiana State Police concerning three troopers.
This week, two years from now, voters will cast their ballots for Louisiana’s next governor. Current Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards is planning to run again. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry could challenge Edwards and tensions between the two continue to escalate. He says expect GOP leaders to keep attacking the governor on various issues. Pinsonat says there’s been word that along with Landry, Congressmen Garret Graves and Steve Scalise as well as U.S. Senator John Kennedy are taking a look at the governor’s seat.
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, supports the Senate’s GOP tax plan which was unveiled on Thursday. Cassidy says the proposed legislation would help families and help businesses grow by cutting taxes and simplifying the tax code. He says a family of four would see a tax cut of over 14-hundred-dollars…
A new phone app called OnPoint can help you keep an eye on politicians at nearly every level of government. Vote-Smart-dot-org National Director Walker McKusick says they have culled information on over 40-thousand politicians, including those in Louisiana. McKusick credits their non-partisanship donations in helping them to present the true facts behind every politician in Louisiana…
Two elderly people were killed after a logging truck struck their vehicle in Beauregard Parish Thursday. State Police Sgt. James Anderson says 86-year-old Elaine Picard and passenger 82-year-old William Picard were at a stop sign, when they pulled out onto Highway 112 east of DeRidder, directly into the path of a logging truck.
Complete domination. That’s the best way you can describe the Saints 47-10 beat down of the Bills in Buffalo yesterday. New Orleans had 482 yards of total offense to Buffalo’s 198 and the Saints had the ball for over 41 minutes in the game. It was the team’s seventh straight victory. The Saints rushed for 298 yards and set a franchise record by scoring six rushing touchdowns.
The LSU football team scored four touchdowns in the 2nd half on Saturday to beat Arkansas 33-10. LSU is now 7-3, 4-2 in the SEC and this Saturday they’ll visit a Tennessee team that was crushed by Missouri 50-17. The Vols are 0-6 in the league.
News for Friday 111017
By Dave Graichen
A Rapides Parish Jury found a 17 year old mother, Donasty Cohen, guilty of manslaughter in the death of her 27 day old son nearly a year ago. Cohen will be sentenced on Dec. 4, giving time for the completion of a pre-sentencing investigation ordered by 9th Judicial District Court after the verdict.
The Rapides Parish Police Jury and the company in charge of managing the Rapides Parish Coliseum are hoping a grant from the Greater Alexandria Economic Development Authority will allow for the purchase of some equipment that they say is needed to attract larger events to the venue. The Jury approved the $200,000 grant application at a special meeting Thursday. The money would be used to purchase a stage, chairs for the floor of the arena, speakers, spotlights, wireless intercom and a forklift.
Young people in Louisiana are smoking at a rate of 12-percent, which is lower than the national average of 16-percent, according to a report by Truth Initiative. President and CEO Robin Koval says when teenagers are given the facts and allowed to make their own decisions, they are more likely to positively respond. The down side of the report shows a different story when it comes to adult smoking. Over 22-percent, of adult smoke in the state, that compared to 15 in the rest of the country.
Tomorrow is the last day to early vote for the November 18th election and early voting locations are closed today in observance of Veteran’s Day. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says in the last days of early voting, the number of residents who cast a ballot exceeded his original expectation of around 10-percent. Aside from the statewide State Treasurer’s election, the New Orleans mayoral race is also on the ballot. Voters here in Alexandria will be asked whether to renew a 24-year-old property tax that funds "critical" capital projects, such as roads and drainage.
The five members of the Capitol Police Department at the baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia when House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot, have been awarded the medal of honor. Scalise says the excellent training undergone by members of this department prepared them and gave them the skills to save the lives of so many that day.
Authorities are refuting a WBRZ-TV report that a 13-year-old child was raped by an inmate in a bathroom during last month’s Angola Rodeo. Officials say the State Police Crime Lab through DNA testing determined no sexual contact occurred between the minor and prisoner. West Feliciana Sheriff Austin Daniel says an investigation started when it was observed a 13-year and an inmate walked out of a bathroom together. Daniel says they are not sure why the two were in bathroom together, but there is no evidence that sexual contact occurred.
University system presidents met at the governor’s mansion Thursday afternoon to discuss steps to eliminate hazing and alcohol abuse among sanctioned groups on campus. LSU System President F King Alexander says it’s not their intention to get rid of Greek organizations, because they do a lot of good work in the community.
The Kenner Police Department says a habitual offender that was released early from jail due to the state’s new criminal justice reform, committed an armed robbery 5 days after he was let out. Chief Michael Glaser says Tyrone White is well known in that neighborhood, and cops had already been alerted that he was lurking again pulling on car door handles to see if they were unlocked. Glaser says this 24-year-old man should never have been let out of jail…
A Denham Springs woman turned herself into police today after being suspected of texting before a fatal crash on I-12 that killed a 5-month-old baby. Denham Springs Police issued an arrest warrant for 23-year-old Jessica Cowart. Cowart is charged with negligent homicide, negligent injuring and reckless operation. She is free on a 51-thousand-dollar-bond.
Gas prices keep rising as demand remains high. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular is $2.29, up five cents from the prior week.
According to the Louisiana Lottery, no one has claimed the $50,000 Powerball prize from the drawing on June 14. The winning ticket was purchased at Super 1 Foods on Northeast Evangeline Thruway in Carencro. The winner has until Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. to claim the prize.
Have you ever wondered who is responsible for painting LSU’s Eye of the Tiger in Death Valley? Well it’s LSU graduate Hunter Sexton who is the Sports Turf Manager for Tiger Stadium. He says being the guy who paints the intimidating eye in the middle of the field is the coolest job ever. Sexton says he’s been painting fields since he was a kid, and to be able to work full time for LSU is a huge honor.
The Saints seek their seventh straight victory this Sunday when they visit Buffalo. When the schedule came out, many Saints fans probably thought the Bills would have a losing record at this point of the year. But Buffalo is 5-3 and New Orleans Quarterback Drew Brees says they are a perfect 4-0 at home.
News for Thursday 110917
By Dave Graichen
If you’re dumb enough to make repeated crank calls to 911, don’t get caught in the act. A Pollock man did just that. 21-year-old Arthur Veal was in the process of making another crank call to 911 when a Grant Parish deputy tracked him down. The GPSO says in addition to catching Veal, they found Multiple Bags Of Marijuana in the home he was calling from. But the story doesn’t end there. As Veal was being booked into jail, officials found crystal meth hidden in his underwear .We don’t have enough time to report how many things he has been charged with.
After an alleged confrontation with a student player on Friday, a Natchitoches Central High School football coach John Daughtery was charged with simple battery. The Natchitoches PD reports they received a complaint around 6 p.m. Monday about an incident that happened on Friday at Turpin Stadium. The 17-year-old alleges that Daughtery grabbed his helmet, eventually pulling it off and then began to pull him into a locker room by his jersey. Daughtery has a court date in December.
Three state police troopers have been placed on paid administrative leave amid allegations of claiming overtime on hours they never actually worked. State Police Major Doug Cain says the investigation started after surveillance video was uncovered by a New Orleans television station.
An Arson fire in Many destroyed the ARC of Sabine building, which benefits the developmentally disabled. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says they have a person in custody. The suspect has been identified as 25-year-old Brett Shoemaker and he’s a former client of ARC. No injuries were reported.
Early voting for the November 18th election comes to a close on Saturday and the candidates for State Treasurer continue to get their message out to voters. Republican candidate John Schroder is a former lawmaker from Covington, a veteran and a business owner. He says he’s ready to take on the job and separate himself from any loyalties to do what is the best for our state. Democratic candidate Derrick Edwards has a Master’s degree in accounting and is an attorney in the New Orleans area. Edwards says he will bring accountability and transparency to the office of the State Treasurer. He says this race is not about party affiliation.
A 25-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly attacking a woman who tried to help him as he was lying in a ditch near Oak Grove. West Carroll Parish Sheriff Jerry Philley says the victim saw Christian Turnbow on the side of the road as she was driving her kids to school. He says police arrived after one of her children called 911 to report the attack. The victim suffered minor injuries.
The state department of corrections is not saying much about a Baton Rouge television station’s report that claims a 13-year-old boy was raped by an inmate during the last weekend of the Angola Prison rodeo. A D-O-C spokesperson says an investigation is underway into an alleged incident that may have occurred and details will be released at the appropriate time.
Two people were injured and dozens were evacuated yesterday off of a Shell platform about 115 miles off the Louisiana coast, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Petty Officer Lexie Preston says a 54-year-old male suffered from flash burns and a concussion and a 29-year-old male suffered a sprained wrist and a concussion. Preston says the fire has been reduced to a small flame and a light sheen is reported north of the platform. The incident occurred early Wednesday morning.
The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office says a Covington woman is under arrest amid allegations she lied about an NFL referee physically abusing her. Lt. Brennan Matherne says 49-year-old Sandra Brooks told cops in June that her live in boyfriend, 57-year-old Carl Johnson Sr. of Thibodaux, was hitting her. He says no evidence of wrongdoing by Johnson was found and ultimately he was exonerated in the investigation and Brooks is one now facing the charges.
Authorities have arrested a 14-year-old after he allegedly brought a handgun and rifle ammunition to Rayville High School. Rayville Police Chief Willie Robinson says the rifle rounds were in the teen’s backpack and a gun belonging to him was found in another student’s vehicle. Robinson says the teen told detectives he forgot to take the ammo out of his bag after he went hunting.
More than half of LSU’s 27 fraternities are in some kind of trouble for violating policy both before and after the death of LSU pledge Max Gruver. The punishments range from suspensions, being kicked off campus, on probation or letter of reprimand. The latest is an LSU letter sent to Alpha Gamma Rho saying they must stop all charter events because of an incident, “not in compliance with university policies.”
A state law approved seven years ago allows persons to possess guns inside a place of worship, under strict conditions. The person must be approved by the church leader, the congregation is made aware and persons must receive specialized training. One of those courses is coming up later this month in Livingston Parish. Sheriff Jason Ard says there is increased interest since the Texas church shooting.
Washington Parish authorities arrest the owner of a 2006 Porsche after he allegedly came up with a scheme to burn his water damaged vehicle in an effort to collect insurance money. Chief Deputy Mike Haley says 49-year-old Gary Joseph Leblanc of Robert was arrested following a six week investigation.
Multiple sources are reporting that former LSU coach Les Miles is interested in the coaching job at Oregon State. The Beavers are 1-8 under interim coach Cory Hall after Gary Andersen and the school opted to part ways following a loss to Southern California earlier this season.
News for Wednesday 110817
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana’s Superintendent of Education John White released the annual school performance scores for the 2016-2017 year yesterday. White says the scores have remained steady for the third consecutive year. White says unfortunately, 272 schools statewide received D of F grades for three straight years or saw high school graduation rates less than 67-percent. Here in Rapides Parish, The School System received another "B" grade. The number of schools given an "A" based on their scores is down to five from seven last year.
The investigation continues into a Sunday night armed robbery and shooting at a Wardville convenience store. The operator of Lee Rays on Bayou Marie Rd. told police three armed men entered the store and ordered everyone to the back of the store. The clerk told police he armed himself and fired at the men, hitting two of them. One was hit in the abdomen, he remains in the hospital in critical condition, the other in the arm. Police say arrests are still pending.
Recent record breaking heat in some areas of the state will give way today to much cooler temperatures as a cold front moves in. State Climatologist Barry Keim says expect a gray dreary day. After the front moves through, Keim says to expect much colder air descending on Louisiana providing, us with fall like weekend.
Republican U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy has introduced the Vehicular Terrorism Prevention Act, aimed at preventing terrorists from using vehicles to attack Americans. Cassidy says as technology improves, newer vehicles can become weapons in the hands of terrorists. Cassidy says this bill would give Congress information law enforcement needs to help expand their role to more technical issue.
A man identified as the legislative aid to Lafayette Representative Stuart Bishop was found dead Tuesday in Central. East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Casey Hicks says they believe 31-year-old Larry Warino Jr. took his own life after fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office says two men who fell from a helicopter have died. The men were from California and were working on electrical lines in Sulphur. The safety harness they were using rubbed against the power lines, causing the harness to snap and the men fell some 100 feet to their death.
Emerge Louisiana is a new group that will train female Democrats on how to run a successful campaign for political office. Executive Director Melanie Oubre says any interested females can apply for the training program through November 18th and 20 to 25 women will be selected. Oubre says after graduating, the women will be provided with a network of support locally and nationally.
LSUA opens its Basketball season tonight at The Fort as they play host to Xavier of Louisiana. You can hear that game tonight beginning at 7 on Magic 100.9
News for Tuesday 110717
By Dave Graichen
The state’s education department developed a website to help parents decide the best K-12 public school for their child. The website, Louisiana-schools-dot-com (louisianaschools.com), launches today. Director of Family and Education Communications Annie Morrison says families can find information about all traditional public schools in the state, along with facts on charter, magnet and scholarship schools. Again that website, louisianaschools.com
The Energy Information Administration says October gasoline consumption was the highest in month-to-month numbers since 2006, which is why there has been a slight increase in prices at the pump. Triple A fuel analyst Don Redman believes the warm fall has led to more people driving increasing demand for gasoline. Redman says Louisiana prices are the sixth lowest in the nation with drivers paying an average of $2.26 a gallon, but still about 20 cents more a gallon than last year.
The state Department of Education releases the 2016-2017 annual school performance scores today and this is the last time schools with be graded on a curve. President for the Council for a Better Louisiana Barry Erwin says it’s time to go back to the system where grades really give a true reflection of the school’s performance. Erwin says after getting rid of a curve, we do sometimes see a dip in school performance with more receiving D’s and F’s. He expects it might take a year or two but schools will eventually score better as the bar is raised.
The first two days of early voting for the November 18 election shows numbers remain dismal with just under 26-thousand voters participating. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says even though they are getting the word out to encourage voters, not many have taken the advice. Early voting remains open until Saturday with the exception of Friday for the observance of Veteran’s Day.
Reactions are coming in the aftermath of the largest church mass shooting in Texas history this past weekend near San Antonio which killed 26. Seven years ago, former Shreveport area State Representative Henry Burns authored a bill which allows guns in places of worship, with church leadership approval. When asked if there are any additional steps that churches need to take to ensure the safety of attendees, Burns says installing metal detectors may be an extreme but necessary step.
Some 60 dogs and cats rescued from Hurricane Maria and relocated to Louisiana are looking for their new forever home. Zeus’ Rescues in New Orleans is currently sheltering the animals. They were surrendered after many lost their homes. Director Michelle Ingram says some animals are having a hard time adjusting to their new circumstances at their shelter. She says foster families are needed to help these animals.
A 19-year-old Tibodaux woman who was shot last week has died. Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre says Shantell Pollard was shot on October 31st. When police arrived, they found Pollard in the passenger side of an SUV bleeding from a head wound and was unresponsive. She was in critical condition after she was transferred to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge. Police say the investigation is continuing.
LSU Football Head Coach Ed Orgeron says quarterback Danny Etling will remain the Tigers starting quarterback. Orgeron says despite some missed opportunities in the passing game against Alabama, Etling is the better option over freshman Myles Brennan to achieve a 10-win season. LSU will play Arkansas this Saturday after losing to Alabama by two touchdowns last weekend.
Louisiana Tech now has a new Tech XXII mascot after Tech XXI retired last fall. Vice President for Student Advancement Jim King says they are excited to finally introduce the beloved bulldog to students. King says Tech is well taken care of by the university’s pre-vet club and has been adopted by a local Ruston family.
News for Monday 110617
By Dave Graichen
State Police report an early morning single vehicle crash, Saturday Morning,
Took the life of 53 year old Carl LaBorde of Marksville. LaBorde’s vehicle was northbound on LA Hwy 115 when he lost control, exited the right side of the roadway and collided with a concrete culvert. Laborde, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Early voting for the November 18 election is under way. Secretary of State Tom Schedler is expecting a low turnout, around 10 percent. There is a statewide treasurer’s race, the New Orleans mayoral race and a handful of local ballot items in about half of the state’s parishes. Early voting continues through Saturday.
The senate approved a 23 month contract extension Friday for the state’s Medicaid managed-care companies unanimously, but House members voted against it, blocking the Governor’s efforts to help extend high-dollar contracts for managed-care companies beyond January. House Appropriations Committee chairman Cameron Henry expects more meetings next month to find savings in the proposed 15.4-billion-dollar deal.
A 67-year-old grandmother is dead in Plaquemine after her grandson allegedly shot her by mistake. Police say 19-year-old Blaise Horton reported he was holding a gun in a house when Kathleen Fulton was killed. Police Chief Kenny Payne says the bullet grazed a dog and struck Fulton in the back. He says Horton’s sister was in the home at the time and evidence at the scene matches up with the story Horton and the sister told officers.
Officers say a three-year-old toddler has died as the result of an alleged accidental shooting in St. Martin Parish. Police have arrested the child’s 28 year old uncle. He has been charged with Illegal Possession of a Stolen Firearm and Obstruction of Justice.
A Mandeville man has been arrested after allegedly blocking off the exit of a subdivision and holding two teens at gunpoint after they toilet papered his house. Police Chief Gerald Sticker says homeowner Craig Scott unjustifiably took matters into his own hands.
Especially now that it’s getting darker earlier, State Farm wants to remind people to watch out for deer while driving. Louisiana ranks 41st in the country for the most deer collisions. State Farm Spokesperson Kip Diggs says it’s now mating season deer and they’re on the move. He says dusk to dawn are the highest risk times to see deer out on the roadways.
We turned back our clocks for Standard time Sunday morning.. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning reminds residents now is a good time to check the batteries in your smoke alarm. He says first generation fire alarms need to have the batteries replaced every 12 months, and it also might be time for an upgrade. Many of the new Smoke detectors can run 10 years between battery changes.
So what do CPAs say the GOP tax plan will do for us and our pocketbooks? Among the changes, the plan eliminates the ability to deduct state income tax, which is between two and six percent in Louisiana. Brandon Legarde with the Society of Louisiana CPA’s says one of the reasons the GOP is happy with tax reform is the change afforded to businesses in trying to urge corporations to come back to the U.S. Legarde says his office is still trying to determine how all the tax breaks will benefit businesses and if they will be able to get around some of the new laws…
For the first time since 2005, two state police cadet classes will run simultaneously. Aspiring troopers have reported for the 97th cadet class with 49 individuals. The 96th class has entered their 11th week of training. Sgt. Jared Sandifer says both classes are going through an intense training program. After graduation, troopers will participate in a 10-14 week field training program before beginning their new careers.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and 10 Louisiana chefs are in New York City to prepare the Bayou State’s world-class food and give the Big Apple a taste of what we have to offer. Nungesser says they hope to woo people with our culture and encourage them to take their next vacation to Louisiana. This trip is a marketing and communications effort in part of the Louisiana Culinary Campaign.
The Saints won their sixth straight on Sunday as they dominated Tampa Bay 30-10. A blocked punt that went for a touchdown in the 1st quarter gave New Orleans a 9-0 lead and they never looked back.
LSU outgained Alabama on Saturday night but still lost to the Crimson Tide 24-10 in Tuscaloosa. Tigers Head Coach Ed Orgeron says Alabama’s ability to make the big play was the difference. LSU entered the game as a three touchdown underdog, but lost by two touchdowns.
News for Friday 110317
By Dave Graichen
The RPSO is investigating a shooting that occurred in Sieper yesterday shortly before noon. Upon arrival, deputies located the victim suffering from two gunshot wounds. One deputy responding to the scene located the suspect, identified as 68 year old Jimmy Carl Harper of Sieper, walking down Jesse Perry Rd. Harper was taken into custody without incident. The victim was transported to a local hospital. Harper was placed under arrest for Attempted 2nd Degree Murder.
Early voting begins today for the November 18 election. There is a state treasurer race, New Orleans mayoral contest and local propositions in 32 parishes to be decided. The October 13 election only saw a 14 percent turnout. Secretary of State Tom Schedler predicts an even lower turnout this month.
The House GOP tax reform plan announced Thursday would consolidate the current seven tax brackets into four and would double the standard deduction, giving an average family of four nearly 12-hundred-dollars more income per year. But Jan Moller with the Louisiana Budget Project says the one-and-a-half-trillion-dollar cuts in the package over ten years will affect services many rely on.
A Morning Consult poll finds Governor John Bel Edwards approval rating among voters is 52-percent. LSU Political Science Professor Robert Hogan says that’s a solid number for a Democrat in a red state. Hogan says Edwards has done well to stay away from partisan disputes. Edwards is closing in on two years in office.
There are now 14 former LSU Tigers who are World Champions. The latest two are third baseman Alex Bregman and relief pitcher Will Harris, who helped the Astros win their first world series title in franchise history.
Another feud is brewing between Governor John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry. The AG believes his office should handle the lawsuit against opiod manufacturers; not the administration. The state Department of Health claims in a suit that drug firms intentionally flooded Louisiana with highly addictive opioids. Landry says his office is working on its own litigation. The AG won a legal battle this week over the governor’s office on an executive order dealing with discrimination of LGBT state workers.
The head of a veterans advocates group in Slidell will not go to this Sunday’s Saints game to accept an award, because some NFL players kneel during the National Anthem. Retired Navy Commander John Wells understands that some players want to protest racial injustice, but doing so during the national anthem is not the time. Wells was set to receive the Peoples Health Champion Award.
Lafayette Police say no charges will be filed against a man who fatally shot another man in a Home Depot parking lot on Evangeline Thruway. Authorities say a violent struggle occurred when an owner of a vehicle saw the now deceased male trying to break into his car. Detectives say during that struggle the vehicle owner shot and killed the subject and they are ruling it a justifiable homicide.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s office announces the arrest of a private school teacher who allegedly bit a two-year-old in the face. Investigators say 28-year-old Heather Marcotte admitting to biting the little boy, when she became frustrated with his behavior at Northlake Christian School.
A group committed to the survival of the Louisiana black bear has announced their intent to file suit to place them back on the endangered species list. The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility contends they were removed prematurely.
This weekend the Vermilion Parish town of Abbeville will hold their annual Giant Omelet Celebration. The event has been held for 33 years and was created after a group who traveled to France to attend a similar festival. Spokesperson Arlene Collee (Coal-lee) says they will use over 5,000 eggs cooked in a 12-foot skillet with several different ingredients. The festival will be held Saturday and Sunday with the omelet preparation to begin at 1pm Sunday.
Also this weekend it’s the Louisiana Pecan Festival in Colfax. The fun starts tonight and runs through Sunday.. With Live entertainment on the stage tonight and throughout the day on Saturday. Also a large fireworks display Saturday night.
Another event this weekend is the Swine Festival in Basile. With food and entertainment through Sunday.
Not many people are giving LSU the chance to beat top ranked Alabama on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa. The Tigers are three touchdown underdogs. Alabama has won six straight games against LSU. 2010 was the last time the Tigers scored more than 20 points in a game against the Crimson Tide.
The Saints look to extend their winning streak to six games on Sunday when they host NFC South rival Tampa Bay at 12:00 in the Mercedes Benz Superdome. The Bucs are 2-and-5, but New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees expects a tough game.
News for Thursday 110217
By Dave Graichen
Governor Edwards suffered a loss in the courtroom Wednesday as a state appellate court ruled against his executive order that sought to project LGBT state workers from being discriminated against. Edwards released a statement that said, “Discrimination in state government and by state contractors is wrong, makes us weaker and is bad for business and economic development.” He also cites President Trump’s executive order that remains in place and was identical to his order.
Wednesday on the day Louisiana is released 19-hundred non-violent offenders, a state audit finds the Department of Corrections is not able to track offenders or did not have proper methods in place to calculate correct prisoner release dates. Auditor Kristen Jacobs says the DOC tried to plug up the holes in the records system. They spent 3.6-million-dollars a few years ago on a computer data system that was quickly abandoned…
Louisiana earned an ‘F’ grade on the latest March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card. Dr. Martha Whyte with the state Department of Health says the preterm birth rate in Louisiana is 12.6-percent. Caddo Parish has the highest number of premature births in the state with 17 out of every 100 babies born preterm. Whyte says African American women also have more premature babies in the Bayou State. Whyte says changing this failing grade starts with addressing chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity. Another startling statistic, 60-percent of births in Louisiana are unplanned.
The 24-billion-dollar acquisition of Level 3 Communications by Monroe based CenturyLink is now complete. CenturyLink Spokesperson Ann Marie Sartor says this merger will allow them to expand in the US, and overseas. Based upon a state contract, CenturyLink’s corporate headquarters must remain in Monroe through 2020.
The open enrollment period began today for those who would like to purchase change or renew their health insurance policies through the Affordable Care Act. State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says policyholders can anticipate an 18 and a half percent increase in premiums, because of an uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act. Visit healthcare.gov to search policies. The enrollment period ends December 15.
When it comes to popularity in Congress, both of Louisiana’s US Senators rank in the middle, according to a new Morning Consult poll. John Kennedy’s approval rating is at 50-percent, while Bill Casssidy’s is at 47-percent. Cassidy is up for re-election in three years…
UL Lafayette has fired its highly successful softball coach, claiming that Michael Lotief created a hostile learning and working environment. Lotief was placed on administrative leave in early October. In a news release, the university says Lotief violated school policies by subjecting student-athletes and coworkers to violent, vulgar language and verbal and physical assault. Lotief admits he has a loose tongue in competitive situations, but it shouldn’t result in his firing. Lotief has not made a decision on whether he’ll sue the university
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services reports a record number of children were adopted form the state’s foster care system in a one year period ending September 30. 764 children were adopted up from the record of 735 the previous year.
News for Wednesday 110117
By Dave Graichen
An estimated 19-hundred prisoners will be released today as part of the state’s criminal justice reform legislation enacted this year. The Edwards Administration says this will lower the highest incarceration rate in the country and produce better outcomes for non-violent offenders. Nonviolent offenders will be allowed to be released after serving 35 percent of their sentence under the new law, but according to Department of Public Safety and Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc they will be still be monitored.
The suspect in last week’s double murder at Grambling State University, Jaylin Wayne, says he’s not guilty and has hired a defense team. Attorney Ronald Haley says there was yet another suspected shooting on campus this past weekend, and they feel more light should be shed on a bigger problem at Grambling, gun violence. Wayne faces first-degree murder charges.
State Attorney General Jeff Landry wants to take control of a lawsuit filed by Governor Edwards suing opioid manufacturers. Landry also wants to hire former Mississippi AG Mike Moore who successfully sued tobacco manufacturers in the 1990s. Landry is asking the court to allow him to supersede the state Department of Health’s lawsuit against more than a dozen pharmaceutical firms. He wants to include allegations of the increased cost to the criminal justice system and the loss of workforce productivity.
The FCC has approved Monroe headquartered CenturyLink’s acquisition of Level 3 Communications, paving the way to close the deal. The company says this is great news and means everything is now in place to complete the transaction, which they anticipate will be effective tomorrow. CenturyLink and Level 3 believe the merger will allow CenturyLink to compete with AT&T and Verizon Communications in the business communications market.
Baton Rouge Police are investigating a crash off Airline Highway, which left two people dead including a toddler. Sgt. Don Coppola says witnesses told detectives they saw the driver of a 2009 Mustang driving erratically and crossing over the median multiple times before hitting an 18-wheeler head on.
The hurricane season ends on November 30, but a named storm has never struck Louisiana in November in 167 years of record keeping. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the state came close to breaking that streak in 2009 when Tropical Storm Ida churned in the Gulf…
LSU takes on the Alabama Crimson Tide this Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium and ticket sales are on fire. Cameron Papp with Stub Hub says ticket prices range from 90 dollars to over 500 dollars for a seat to see the highly anticipated match up. He says this is the highest selling Alabama home game this season so far. Papp says there is still plenty of time left for fans to purchase tickets.
Ascension Sheriff deputies arrested two Prairieville men for allegedly stopping a school bus. Lt. Colonel Ward Webb says 58-year-old Clifton Hamby and 60-year-old Kerry LaSaicherre (Les-sha-share) were angry with the bus driver for speeding on the road they lived on. Webb says the men should have called police instead. Webb says one of the men was armed, but he never threatened the bus driver with the gun.
Caldwell Parish juvenile is in custody after allegedly destroying a building that belonged to St. Paul Baptist church in nearby Richland Parish. Sheriff Gary Gilley says the suspect also damaged several vehicles at Caldwell Parish High School and stole an Entergy truck before setting fire to the structure.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff deputies arrested a woman for allegedly pepper spraying people at a Chuck E. Cheese in Metairie. Lt. Jason Rivarde says 24-year-old Katarian Marshall was angry and started indiscriminately spraying pepper spray, hitting five adults and two kids. Marshall is charged with disturbing the peace by fighting.
News for Tuesday 103117
By Dave Graichen
Halloween is today and with that comes trick or treating. State Trooper Jesse LaGrange says it’s vital that drivers easily see children who are out and about. He says make sure they are easily seen in darker shaded costumes. LaGrange says drivers need to be aware of the extra foot traffic in neighborhoods and drive with caution. Other tips include children knowing their address and phone number in case they get lost, trick or treating in well-lit neighborhoods and having parents inspect all candy before eating after returning home. Trick or treating is from 5 to 8 this evening in Alexandria & Pineville.
Governor John Bel Edwards and First Lady Laura Edwards were in Puerto Rico yesterday along with leaders of the Louisiana National Guard and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to observe and give support to the island nation as it recovers from Hurricane Maria. Shortly after the storm, Louisiana launched a donation drive for Puerto Rico. The governor’s spokesperson Shauna Sanford says the state has sent approximately 100 pallets worth of essential items from diapers to non-perishable formula to help in the recovery efforts
An audit released by the state legislative auditor’s office accuses three former cashiers at Grambling State of improperly adding over 164-thousand dollars to spending accounts for 35 students, including two of the former cashiers. That adds up to over $4,600 per student. No word yet is charges will be brought against the cashier. Grambling is no longer giving cashiers the ability to manually allocate dollars to the spending cards.
The big game of the year has arrived as LSU visits top ranked Alabama this Saturday. The Bayou Bengals are looking for their first win over the Crimson Tide since 2011. Bama is a three touchdown favorite. On another LSU note, the school announced the time for the Arkansas game on November 11th will be 11am in Tiger Stadium.
LSU might be a big underdog headed into a date with top-ranked Alabama in Bryant–Denny Stadium Saturday, but that would never stop Tiger fans from traveling to watch it unfold. Barrett Elder with Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports says LSU/Alabama games are invariably exciting. Alabama has won six straight against LSU, but Elder says both sides consistently put up a challenge which is a blast for fans to take in.
The State Department of Health is warning those who frequent indoor shooting ranges about toxic exposure to lead. There are at least 50 shooting ranges in Louisiana, a third of those are indoor. Dr. David Holcombe with Office of Public Health says there are no regulations in place to control dangerous exposure levels. Over the past 40 years, the CDC says 36 studies show higher toxic lead levels among those who use gun ranges regularly. Health effects from lead can permanently damage vital organs and in children, damage the nervous system, slow growth and creates learning and behavior problems.
State Police say I-10 eastbound near Grosse Tete was closed for several hours yesterday after a fatal crash involving four 18-wheelers. Trooper Bryan Lee says one of the big rigs didn’t stop for upcoming traffic and smashed into three other 18 wheelers.
Two out of state residents were killed in the 18-wheeler that slammed into the other three.
New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson is doing “very well” after being hospitalized overnight Sunday. Spokesman Greg Bensel said the 90-year-old was observed at Ochsner Hospital after experiencing brief weakness following the Saints 20-12 win over Chicago at the Superdome.
News for Monday 103017
By Dave Graichen
State police are investigating a late Saturday night crash that claimed the life of a Pineville man. Troopers say 66 year old Otis Walker lost control of his pickup on Louisiana highway 454 and collided with a utility pole. Walker, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.
A survey from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission finds Louisianans are buckling up but drivers and passengers in pickup trucks are not doing so as often. Executive Director Dr. Katara Williams says the seat belt usage rate has consistently increased annually in the Bayou State since 2009. However, Alexandria and Baton Rouge drivers and passengers had the lowest rates when it comes to wearing seat belts at nearly 83-percent and 85-percent.
Prison reform measures go into effect Wednesday when some 14-hundred non-violent offenders will be released as a result of changes to the state’s sentencing laws. It’s an effort led by Governor John Bel Edwards to lower the state’s incarceration rate which is considered the highest in the world. State Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc says most of these prisoners set free this week were nearing their release. Lowering the incarceration rate is estimated to save the state 262-million-dollars over ten years, most of the savings will go towards rehabilitation programs.
A federal judge agrees with Alton Sterling protesters in a class action lawsuit against Baton Rouge law enforcement agencies. A hearing was held Friday morning involving about 80 protesters who were arrested last year. The ACLU of Louisiana filed a similar lawsuit but one that did not seek damages. Executive Director Marjorie Esman applauds the ruling. The plaintiffs will receive a combined total of about $136,000, which amounts to individual payments ranging from $500-$1000.
The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office says they arrested a suspect in Grambling State University’s deadly shooting. Jaylin Wayne of St Louis Missouri is in custody for the shooting that allegedly killed another student and his friend early Wednesday morning. Wayne turned himself in Thursday night after he learned he was wanted for 1st degree murder. The Shooting Occurred during an altercation outside some dorm rooms.
Halloween is a time for celebration, but State Fire Marshal Butch Browning reminds the public some costumes and decorations are highly flammable. Browning says costumes should have a fire retardant coating, so they don’t easily burn. He also says nearly half of all home fires during Halloween are a result of decorations too close to a heat source.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are over 10-thousand fires in American each year in the days leading up to and following Halloween.
Changes have been made to Mega Millions. It will result in larger multi-state jackpot prizes, but the price of a ticket has increased from one to two dollars. Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kimberly Chopin says the higher ticket price will mean the starting jackpot starts at 40 million, instead of 15 million dollars. Chopin says the odds of winning of the jackpot will increase, but other enhancements to the game will lead to more winners for the smaller prizes. Chopin says the first drawing for the revised Mega Millions game is tomorrow night.
Police in Gonzales arrested four men Sunday morning accused of stealing the ATM machine from a Gonzales convenience store after ramming a truck into the storefront.
At least one of the suspects has been linked to a similar convenience store burglary case in the same area earlier this year. All four men are from Houston, Texas.
Whether we like it or not, flooding is a disaster that happens in Louisiana. An LSU AgCenter building science instructor has found an effective way to repair flooded homes at a quicker pace. Bill Robinson calls it wet-proofing by using glass faced drywall. He says it’s easy to dry out these walls if they get damaged. There are some downsides. The first question that comes up is the cost. There is about a 25 percent increase in construction costs, but Robinson says the long term benefits are worth it.
Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson was taken to Ochsner Hospital following Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears for precautionary reasons. The 90 year old Benson was feeling a little weak and worn out after the game before being taken to the hospital. He had a busy weekend after attending the Saints' Hall of Fame event, the Pelicans and Cavaliers game, and then Sunday's game against the Bears. Saints spokesman Greg Bensel said Benson was "heading to get checked out and then home for rest.
LSU moved up three spots to No. 20 in the Amway coaches poll released Sunday and four spots to No. 19 in the AP top 25. The Tigers were off this week and travel to play top-ranked Alabama) on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Coach Ed Orgeron's Tigers carry with them a three-game winning streak. The Crimson Tide has won 29 consecutive regular season games and owns a six-game win streak against LSU.
The Saints are on a five game winning streak after beating the Chicago Bears 20-12. New Orleans did a lot of things well, the defense gave up just one touchdown, quarterback Drew Brees threw for 299 yards. The Saints are now 5-2 and host 2-5 Tampa Bay this Sunday.
News for Friday 102717
By Dave Graichen
Authorities say the man who murdered a woman whose body was found in Pineville last week, is also the person that allegedly killed two people, Kendrick Horn and Jeremy Norris, who’s burnt bodies were found in a ditch on Old Boyce Highway that same morning. Rapides Sheriff William Hilton says Matthew Sonnier now faces three counts of first-degree murder. Hilton says they also arrested Sonnier’s sister, Ebony Sonnier and she’s facing charges that could result in the death penalty for the murder of Horn and Norris. Pineville Police have upgraded the murder charge of Matthew Sonnier to first-degree murder and now his sister is also facing the same charge for the stabbing death of Latish White.
President Trump’s declaration against the opioid crisis today helps the state choose how they will use future federal funds to fight a problem that increased by 12 percent in 2015 alone. Governor Edwards has sued opioid manufactures and Trump has said he would like to do the same, calling it a national crisis. The declaration will help mobilize additional federal resources for states.
Another fraternity on LSU’s campus has been shut down. The Board of Directors for Lambda Chi (like sky) Alpha voted earlier this week to close the house at LSU, because it was unsafe and didn’t promote a healthy environment. The fraternity was put on probation in May of 2016, because of alleged hazing incidents.
A 191 million dollar Powerball jackpot ticket was sold last night at a gas station in Eunice. Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kim Chopin says the last time the Bayou State saw a jackpot winner was in May of 2013. She says in 2008, a player won the second largest jackpot of 97 million dollars. She says if the winner chooses the cash option, they’ll receive $119 million.
Good news for Louisiana’s tourism industry. Nearly 25 percent of the new jobs in the state were related to tourism. Over six-thousand new travel related jobs were created in the last 12 months, based on data from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser says not only is the industry creating jobs, but it’s bringing in a large portion of the state’s tax revenue…
The Lafayette Fire Department says a two-year-old died in a morning house fire yesterday. Officials say they attempted to rescue the toddler, but the flames were too intense. Two adults and an infant were able to escape. Investigators believe the deadly blaze started in the living room.
The Board of Regents is requesting 192 million dollars more in state funding for public colleges in 2018. The money would go straight to the four college systems as they suffered budget cuts for years. It’s unlikely the request will be granted by lawmakers or Governor Edwards because the legislature is still looking at how to stop from falling off a 1 billion dollar fiscal cliff.
The University of Louisiana at Monroe now has a Doppler weather radar, helping to bridge a gap in identifying severe storms in northeast Louisiana. ULM received a 3-million-dollar grant through the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness to acquire a radar to assist weather forecasters.
The State Fair of Louisiana kicks off today in Shreveport. Live entertainment includes performances by The Hollow Decks, Pokey Bear, Lenny Cooper, Frank Foster and more. Find out more at statefairoflouisiana.com.
Louisiana is set to get nearly $2 million from a settlement with General Motors. 49 states settled with GM over allegations the automaker concealed safety issues connected to ignition switch related defects.
The World Series resumes tonight in Texas as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros face off in game three. The series is tied at one game apiece. The survivors and victims of Hurricane Harvey will be honored before tonight's game. Hear the game starting at 6 on ESPN 1410 and 93.1 HD3
News for Thursday 102617
By Dave Graichen
Legendary New Orleans singer, songwriter, and pianist Fats Domino passed away yesterday at the age of 89. Domino was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and was a great influence for many Louisiana performers. New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival producer Quint Davis was a long-time friend of Domino and says the global star never forgot his roots, which was reflected in his music. Domino had 30 top 40 hits including 23 gold singles. There is no word on any pending funeral arrangements.
Grambling State University President Rick Gallot says they are beefing up security, after a gunman killed two 23-year-old men from Farmerville after an altercation in a dorm room. Gallot says he spoke with Governor John Bel Edwards, who offered Grambling additional resources for the upcoming homecoming weekend. Gallot says this was not a random shooting, as Earl Andrews and Monquiarious Caldwell were targeted. He says students should feel safe on campus.
Jason Alden will perform tonight at Champion’s Square in New Orleans at his first outside concert since the horrific Las Vegas shooting that left 58 people dead and 546 injured. General Manager of the Superdome and Champion’s Square Alan Freeman says they are looking at the tragedy as a onetime occurrence but safety is still their number one concern. Alden has told fans he will not let the incident in Vegas stop him from performing.
A lawsuit has been filed by Lambda Legal on behalf of William “Liam” Pierce claiming their client was offered a job by the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office that was later rescinded when they learned Pierce had HIV. Attorney Scott Schoettes (shotis) says that suit is asking for Pierce to be employed as deputy. The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office says they don’t comment on current litigation.
As part of his campaign to educate the public on the Criminal Justice Reforms going into effect November 1st, Governor John Bel Edwards has released three videos featuring community leaders who were active in passing the legislation. Edwards says he wants to highlight the necessity of criminal justice reform in Louisiana, the reduced cost to taxpayers and the increased safety that will result from this reform for communities across the state.
LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva believes attendance at games in Tiger Stadium would be improved if they started selling beer. Speaking to the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Quarterback Club, Alleva said they have to do a better job of making the fan experience at LSU games more friendly; and he feels beer would be a good place to start. He says hes continuing to push the SEC to change its alcohol policy.
Tulane University has received a five-year 1.8-million-dollar grant to study a possible link between traumatic stress and alcohol abuse. Researcher Jeff Tasker says humans with post-traumatic stress disorder are more likely to abuse alcohol than the general population and this project will hopefully provide insight into why.
News for Wednesday 102517
By Dave Graichen
A shooting at Grambling State University overnight has left two men dead. Lincoln Parish officials are saying the incident happened during an altercation in a courtyard, the shooter fleeing the scene. KNOE has reported the victims were two 23 year old students from Farmerville.
The Interior Department plans to put nearly 77-million acres in the Gulf of Mexico on sale for energy companies to perform oil and gas development. President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association Don Briggs hopes energy companies will take advantage of the largest oil and gas lease sale in U-S history. A lease sale last August drew a lukewarm response from energy producers.
Country music superstar George Strait will headline a scaled down 2018 Bayou Country Superfest. The show will be May 27th inside the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Chris Stapleton, Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves, and Midland will also perform that Sunday.
The family of a 38-year-old mother of four was left heartbroken and confused Tuesday morning after authorities said she was killed by her husband in an apparent murder-suicide in a rural area in the southern part of Livingston Parish. The brother and parents of Sherry Toney said they are at a loss for what could have driven 34-year-old Patrick Toney to shoot his wife of seven years and then turn the gun on himself inside their home Monday night. Police and friends say there were no indications of any abuse in the household.
An 18-year-old and 26-year-old man have been arrested in a shooting that wounded two young girls in Natchitoches. Tyrease Evans and Demario Davis are facing charges of attempted first degree murder. Natchitoches Police spokesperson Kelly Parks says multiple subjects were shooting at each other in the area of Reba Street on Sunday afternoon. The two children are expected to fully recover.
Kenner Representative Julie Stokes says her treatment for breast cancer is going well as she goes through 5-months of chemotherapy treatment, which forced her to drop out of the race for State Treasurer. Stokes says she is now in her second round of treatment, which is more intense, but the results so far are positive. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Stokes says this is a great opportunity to share her story about the disease. One in eight women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer. Stokes says even if you think it’s nothing, get checked, because she’s fighting for her life right now.
Louisiana has earned an A-Plus in a National Small Business Survey. It’s an improvement from the C-plus grade the state got in 2016. The survey group Thumbtack awarded the grade based on the friendliness of businesses, the ease of hiring new employees and several other factors. Louisiana scored better than neighboring states Arkansas and Mississippi, scoring A and A-minus respectively.
The Union Parish Sheriff’s Office says a man was arrested for allegedly stealing a car with a baby inside. They say the suspect reported he did not know the child was in the vehicle at the time; but upon making the discovery he returned the car. The investigation is ongoing.
Forecasters are continuing to monitor a broad area of low pressure in the southwestern Caribbean Sea. The National Hurricane Center says the disturbance has a 50 percent chance of developing into a tropical system over the next five days.
Veterans in southwest Louisiana have a new facility for medical care. The Lake Charles VA Community Outpatient Clinic recently opened a 24-thousand-square-foot office. Director of the Alexandria VA System Pete Dancy says this will expand care for some seven-thousand in the Lake Charles area with 26-hundred vets actively using VA services. The closest outpatient facility prior to the opening was in Jennings.
First year head coach Will Wade is quickly making his mark on the LSU men’s basketball program. In just one season, he’s turned over the roster and is putting together one of the top recruiting classes in the nation for next year. LSU will tip-off its new season on November 10th at home against Alcorn State.
News for Tuesday 102417
By Dave Graichen
Authorities in Marksville report a standoff yesterday led to the suicide death of the suspect 27 year old Kaliven Lyons and the death of a man being held hostage. Marksville PD say the incident started shortly after 7:30 in the morning. Police were able to confirm Lyons, was holding two children and two adults hostage. Lyons left the house, with three of the hostages, walking into a wooded area, shortly after State Police were able to remove one of the children to safety. Police say while in the woods Lyons shot and killed one of the hostages 27 year old Ryan Mayes. Lyons then took the remaining two hostages to a house on Bordelon Street. It was then with state police at the door, Lyons shot and killed himself.
A woman accused of shooting a state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agent in Morehouse Parish during a traffic stop in January pleaded guilty to all four counts against her. 31-year-old Amethyst Baird of Monroe pled guilty of first-degree attempted murder of a police officer, obstructing justice, and illegal possession of a stolen vehicle and firearm. Baird remains in custody pending her sentencing January 26.
Two children in Natchitoches were injured Sunday after they were hit by bullets. Police say the three and five-year-olds were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. The younger child was hit in the foot while the five-year-old sustained a shot in a calf. Several nearby apartments and vehicles were damaged. Suspects from the gunfight have been identified but no arrests have been made.
Louisiana ranks 4th in the nation for state’s with the highest divorce rate, according to a report done by 24/7 Wall Street who used data from the Census Bureau. Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at LSU Heath New Orleans Michele Many says it’s not surprising since Louisiana has one of the highest poverty rates in the country. She says the median household income in Louisiana is a little over 45-thousand dollars a year, over 10-thousand dollars lower than the national average.
Gas prices have been on a slow decline over the last three weeks and the statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $2.22. AAA fuel analyst Don Redman says a year ago the statewide average was $2.09. He expects gas prices to decline towards that figure as the weeks go by. Nationally the average price at the pump has fallen for 15 of the last 20 days.
Today is the 30th anniversary of the historic 1987 gubernatorial election where Democrat Buddy Roemer was elected governor when fellow Democrat Edwin Edwards conceded after finishing second in the primary. Roemer received 34-percent of the vote in the primary and Edwards garnered 28-percent. Other candidates in the 1987 race for Louisiana Governor were, U.S. Representatives Robert Livingston Jr. and Billy Tauzin along with Secretary of State Jim Brown.
Point Coupee Parish is drying out after recording a foot of rain Sunday. The heavy rainfall caused flooding due to already over saturated waterways and levees. Sheriff Bud Torres says one main bridge on Highway 413 has been shut down indefinitely.
Flood damage is also reported in East Feliciana Parish.
Singer and former child actor Corey Feldman was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license in Richland Parish. Mangham Police Chief Perry Fleming says cops pulled over Feldman on. Feldman was released after paying a fine.
Famed New Orleans Chef John Bash has stepped down from the restaurant company he founded amid a sexual harassment investigation. Besh suddenly became the focus of a scandal following a Times-Picayune report of harassment allegations throughout the Besh Restaurant Group. The group includes 12 acclaimed eateries in and around New Orleans, and Besh has appeared in shows such as Top Chef and Iron Chef.
Tulane University has received a grant to reduce auto emissions from the chemical science company, SACHEM(Say-chem). Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Daniel Shantz (Sean-tz) says this grant will allow researchers to make materials for a diesel truck’s emission system to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. He says nitrogen oxide contributes to the production of acid rain.
News for Monday 102317
By Dave Graichen
Employment numbers released by the Louisiana Workforce Commission find the state has added nearly 15-thousand non-farm jobs over the last year. And the state’s unemployment rate has dropped slightly to five-point-one percent. The leisure and hospitality sector continues to be one of the fastest growing job sectors.
This past weekend’s cold front has brought even cooler temperatures to Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says it really feels like fall today. But, Keim says enjoy it.. We will go into a warming trend with temperatures climbing back above normal by the end of the week.
The state health department now reports 125 cases of gastrointestinal illness from a chicken and sausage jambalaya at a softball team’s fundraiser in Caldwell Parish. Thirty-seven people have been hospitalized. Health officials are still trying to determine if a death that was reported is associated with the salmonella outbreak. Also, health investigators have found a second bacteria associated with raw meat and poultry in stool samples from those who became ill.
The number of teens involved in fatal car crashes went down 53-percent in Louisiana over a ten-year period from 2005 to 2015. That’s according to the National Young Driver Survey. State Farm spokesperson Kip Diggs says with the improvements with seat belts and vehicles, he expects this number of fatal crashes with drivers of all ages to go down. He says it all starts with adding more steps before teens can get a driver’s license.
Jefferson Parish authorities have recovered the body of a Texas man who was killed Last Sunday in an explosion on an oil rig in Lake Pontchartrain. Interim Sheriff Joe Lopinto says 44-year-old Timothy Morrison’s body was found Friday on the shoreline, about three miles or so from the damaged platform. The cause of the blast is still under investigation. Seven others were injured, three critically.
A federal lawsuit has been filed to stop the removal of a Confederate monument at the Caddo Parish Courthouse. The legal action comes after the Caddo Parish Commission voted to remove the statue from where it currently stands. The lawsuit was filed by the Shreveport Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which owns the monument and they claim the statute is on private property.
Eight people were arrested in Acadiana Friday on multiple charges of Medicaid welfare fraud. The individuals arrested were allegedly submitting time sheets and service logs for Medicaid services while working other jobs.
Robert Myer has resigned as the mayor of New Roads. Myer just reached a plea deal with prosecutors on allegations that he misused city-issued credit cards. Myer pleaded no contest to one count of malfeasance in office and must pay back the city for any outstanding balances owed for personal charges made with the city credit cards. He will avoid a year in jail.
The two candidates in the State Treasurer’s runoff face the challenge of getting people out to vote in the November 18 election. Former state representative John Schroder is up against Democrat Derrick Edwards. Just over 13 percent of registered voters participated in the October 14th election.
The Louisiana Republican congressional delegation believes tax reform legislation can be passed this year. U.S. Senator John Kennedy says a bill has yet to be drafted, but he supports an across the board personal income tax cut, starting with the middle class. The first step was taken last week when Senate Republicans passed a four-trillion-dollar budget plan, which cuts spending over the next decade by five-trillion-dollars.
LSU’s Derrius Guice is the first running back in the SEC history to rush for over 250 yards in three different games. Guice had 276 yards and one touchdown in Saturday’s 40-24 victory over Ole Miss. The victory moved LSU’s record to 6-2, 3-1 in the SEC. They get a week off before they play top ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa on November 4th.
The Saints overcame a few 1st half mistakes to win their fourth straight a 26-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers. New Orleans Quarterback Drew Brees bounced back from two first half interceptions and ended up throwing for 331 yards. Mark Ingram rushed for 105 yards and a score. The Saints have won four straight and they’ve moved to the top of the standings in the NFC South, with a winnable game coming up this Sunday against the Chicago Bears.
News for Friday 102017
By Dave Graichen
Pineville Police have made an arrest in the stabbing death of 42-year-old Latish White. A passerby found her body near the Pineville Expressway early Wednesday morning. Deputy Police Chief Darrell Basco says they learned 29-year-old Matthew Sonnier of Pineville was responsible for her death and arrested him in Alexandria. Basco says Sonnier was a known acquaintance of White and the two were together at the time of her death. Sonnier is charged with second degree murder and aggravated flight from an officer. He is in the Rapides Parish Detention Center without bond.
The Louisiana Department of Health believes jambalaya contaminated with salmonella resulted in 49 cases of gastrointestinal illness in Caldwell Parish. Thirty-one people have been hospitalized. Doctor David Holcombe, with the state office of public health, says one person who showed symptoms associated with Salmonella poisoning died, but it’s still unclear if that is the cause of his death. Holcombe says 300 plates of this contaminated jambalaya were served at a charity softball event and more cases are still possible.
Former Louisiana College President Dr. Joe Aguillard has lost his wrongful termination lawsuit against the college. The decision by the 9 Judicial District Court also denied payment of attorney fees, leaving Aguillard owing the LC close to $18 grand to cover arbitration fees. Aguillard and his attorney had argued he was terminated after an improper tenure hearing, but an arbitration panel found Aguillard was given due process.
Organized Greek activities at LSU are not allowed to have alcohol at their functions until at least January. That’s the decision of LSU President F King Alexander, who last week decided to allow Greek organizations to have on-campus social events with alcohol. But after receiving concerning reports, he’s reversed that decision.
NOAA released their winter outlook today and it says La Nina will dictate a warmer and drier winter in Louisiana for a second year in a row. Wetter-than-average conditions are expected across the northern United States. State Climatologist Barry Keim says it’s a similar weather pattern we saw in 2011 when drought conditions crossed the state.
The winter forecast will be revised by NOAA in Mid-November.
Dr. Craig Greene will be sworn in next week as the Public Service Commissioner who will represent the Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Houma areas. Greene says the biggest challenge facing the P-S-C is getting energy at the cheapest rate possible.
Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise is hopeful that President Trump’s tax reform package will be passed, giving relief to millions of American’s pocketbooks and corporations. The House Majority Whip says the Republicans reform proposal will simplify the tax code. Scalise says their plan would help a somewhat stagnant economy take off.
A man on trial in the death of a New Orleans Police officer was declared incompetent to stand trial Thursday. Travis Boys rubbed feces on his face after entering the courtroom for his jury trial Wednesday. Prosecution experts say it was a stunt for him to avoid trial. The judge ordered Boys to be evaluated and if needed medicated after declaring him incompetent.
An LSU Health Sciences Center doctor says a clinical study of veterans dealing with brain injuries and disorders has shown a reduction in suicides using hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Dr. Paul Harch has been studying the effects of the therapy on 30 veterans since 2008. He knew some symptoms would be reduced, but was surprised at the final results. After treatment, 52-percent of military patients no longer met the criteria for the diagnosis of PTSD. Harch says the therapy helps to increase oxygen levels to treat the disease. It is estimated that 300-thousand military veterans who return from service in Afghanistan or Iraq have PTSD or major depression.
Coming off of two wins, LSU fans are excited to travel to Oxford, Mississippi to watch the Tigers take on the Rebels. LSU Alumni Association Senior Director of Alumni Engagement Sally Stiel says they have a sold out Trip. Kickoff is at 6:15 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
After losing their season opener in Memphis, the Pelicans hope to turn things aroung tonight when they play host to the Golden State Warriors. It will be a late start 8:30. You can hear the game in Cenla on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3
News for Thursday 101917
By Dave Graichen
Authorities in Rapides Parish are investigating a fire in a ditch off Old Boyce Road where two charred bodies were found. Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Tommy Carnline says they responded to the scene at around 6:30 Wednesday morning and made the grim discovery. No id’s have been made yet. Anyone with information is asked to contact the RPSO.
In Pineville the body of a woman was found lying in Melrose Street early yesterday morning. Police say upon the arrival of officers and other first responders the victim was pronounced dead. Pineville PD later announced the woman had been murdered and had suffered several knife wounds. The victim was identified as 42 year old Latish White of Alexandria. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death.
More than 4,000 jobs could be saved by a $200 million expansion of the West Rock paper mill in Hodge in Jackson Parish in a deal aided by state incentives. Governor John Bel Edwards is slated to make the announcement at this hour. The plant employs about 450 workers with a $28 million annual payroll, but the mill supports about 3,700 indirect jobs.
In just a few weeks, hundreds of inmates will be released in Louisiana as a result of a criminal justice reform package signed into law by Governor John Bel Edwards. Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator voiced concern that violent criminals will be released early without proper rehabilitation. But Edwards says Prator didn’t have his facts straight and that no violent prisoners will be released. Prator also said it was important to keep “good” prisoners incarcerated, so they can pick up trash, wash cars, and cook for first responders. No word as to the governor’s response to that thought.
It’s expected that The Caddo Parish Commission will vote today to remove the statue of a Confederate soldier outside of the parish courthouse in Shreveport. LSU Shreveport Associate Professor of Political Science Jeffery Sadow says last month the council preliminarily voted to support the removal of the monument. Sadow says when the monument was placed; it was in the location of the last capitol of the Confederacy. Surprisingly, there have been few comments from the public over the potential removal.
Investigators have matched bullets from two fatal shootings to a rifle found inside the home of alleged East Feliciana serial killer Ryan Sharpe, who was arrested last week in those two shootings and two others that have occurred in the Clinton area since July.
Officials said in the warrant that Sharpe confessed to the shootings. All four men were shot outside during the day within 25 miles of each other; two while doing yard work in front of their houses.
The Iberville Parish Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve an ordinance to outlaw the desecration of official flags in the parish. The mandate protects the American flag, the Louisiana state flag, and any official flags of Iberville Parish. The ACLU of Louisiana calls the ordinance a violation of the public’s constitutional rights and “unenforceable.”
News for Wednesday 101817
By Dave Graichen
State police report a single vehicle crash claimed the life of a Pollock woman yesterday morning. Troopers say 85 year old Marion Morrison apparently lost control of her vehicle on Highway 165, left the roadway and struck a culvert. Morrison was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.
A Winnfield man was killed yesterday after his pickup ran off of highway 156 and struck some trees. 50 year old Randall Shell was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index, Louisiana ranks 42nd on tax competitiveness. Senior Policy Analyst Jared Walczak says the Bayou State has one of the nation’s most complex tax structures. The index also reports Louisiana ranks 50th for the state’s sales tax structure. Walczak says Louisiana could benefit greatly if it simplified its tax code.
The first class of the Louisiana Veteran Entrepreneurship Program has started training military vets to run their own business. State Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says the class helps veterans wanting to go into business, by taking online classes and boot camp training on the LSU campus. They hope to train over 100 participants in the first year with a long term goal of creating 100 new jobs through the businesses created from this program.
A Ruston school was destroyed following a fire. Paul E. Slaton Head Start caught on fire around 6 Tuesday morning. Officials say no one was inside when the fire started. Power lines were damaged, knocking out power to over 30 homes. Investigators are trying to determine the cause of fire.
An 18-month old child is dead following a gruesome murder in New Orleans. Police say the father 45-year-old Mark Hambrick told police “God made him do it.” The exact motive of why Hambrick killed his daughter is unknown. Police Chief Michael Harrison says they are seeking any information about Hambrick that will help them with the investigation. Hambrick is in custody with charges to be filed later.
Open enrollment for the Medicare program is now until December 7th for 2018 plans. State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says this is the only time of the year when senior citizens can shop around for their plans and compare prices. He says it’s important to find a plan that goes along with your current doctors.
A Clinton man arrested last week tipped police off himself. The Associated Press says 36-year-old Ryan Sharpe was not a suspect in three murders and one attempted murder in East Feliciana and East Baton Rouge Parishes until he called police and id’ed himself as the suspect. Officers arrested Sharpe after leading them on a high speed chase. The murders started in July and were all in a 15 mile radius…
A tiger who became a roadside attraction in Grosse Tete has died. Tony the Tiger had lived at the Iberville Parish Tiger Truck Stop since 2001. There have been legal battles between Tony’s owner Michael Sandlin and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Sandlin’s attorney Jennifer Treadway says her client plans to get another tiger and he has a permit to do so. The Animal Legal Defense Fund feels Tony’s death demonstrates how the legal system leaves wildlife vulnerable to exploitation.
Louisiana voters will likely be gearing up for a gubernatorial runoff election in 2019. GOP Chairman Roger Villere says one big name has been mentioned a lot for the election is U.S. Senator John Kennedy. He says he is a formidable candidate for the position. Villiere says many other politicians have voiced interest in running for Governor. Currently Governor Edwards is enjoying a high approval rating.
LSU and Ole Miss will meet for the 106th time this Saturday when the two teams get together for a Saturday night kick-off in Oxford. The Tigers have won 11 of the last 15 against the Rebels dating back to 2002. But it’s been 2011 since LSU’s last win at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Rebels are 3-and-3 and won their first SEC game of the year last week as they pounded Vanderbilt 57-45.
The Pelicans tip off a new season tonight in Memphis. With a healthy Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday, along with a full season from DeMarcus Cousins, there’s a belief New Orleans can be one of the eight playoff teams in the difficult Western Conference. You can hear that game tonight beginning at 6:30 or immediately after the game 5 of the American League Championship series on ESPN 1410 and 93.1 HD3
News for Tuesday 101717
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana is once again tops for murders in the country. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program says the states murder rate was 11.8 per 100,000 persons, with 554 homicides in 2016. New Orleans based Crime analyst Jeff Asher says even if you didn’t count New Orleans, Louisiana would remain tops in the country.
Zachary Police have charged a 33-year-old man with first-degree murder for allegedly shooting, stabbing and beating an 11-month old child. Police Chief David McDavid says they found several weapons in the house and the autopsy shows the baby died of multiple stab and gunshot wounds.
The fire is out at the platform that was the site of an explosion Sunday night on Lake Pontchartrain. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto says the platform is a storage facility and owned by Clovelly Oil Company. Three victims from of the explosion remain in critical condition and the search for a 44-year-old worker from Katy, Texas continues.
Investigators are piecing together the strange case of a baby born to a 13-year-old girl. Baker Police Chief Carl Dunn says the family wasn’t aware she was pregnant and gave birth in her bedroom. Dunn says the teen decided to drop the newborn off, with the umbilical cord still attached on a school teacher’s front porch. Police suspect the father is also just 13-years-old.
The state Department of Children and Family Services has posted an online mapping tool called Safe Haven Facility Locator in an effort to prevent newborn abandonment. Child Protective Services Program Manager Mona Michelli says a mother can visit Louisiana-safe-haven-dot-com (louisianasafehaven.com) to find a place where they can give up a child less than 60 days old. If a mother or parent is not able to locate a facility, call 911 and an emergency responder can transport the child to a facility. Michelli says it’s important to remember a mother faces no legal recourse if she follows the Safe Haven laws.
Waitr is looking to help feed needy families. Starting this week, when customers order food service from the Lake Charles based app, they can donate between two and ten dollars and Waitr along with participating restaurants will match a customers’ donation. Chief Marketing Officer Sonny Mayugba (MY-ooh-buh) says the “Share Thanksgiving” food drive will be conducted in all 130 markets, including Alexandria.
Detectives in Baton Rouge are investigating a fatal shooting last Sunday that left a 26-year-old dead after a homeowner claims he brandished a firearm and charged at him. BRPD Sgt. Don Coppola says the 36-year-old homeowner told police he was standing in his yard when he shot Clayton Bradford after a verbal altercation. Coppola says the homeowner is cooperating and no arrests have been made as of yet.
State Police say a 4-year-old was killed over the weekend after being struck by a vehicle in Iberia Parish. They say Raylen Jones of New Iberia had wandered outside of his home Saturday night without detection and ended up in the street. The investigation is continuing.
A major story line heading into Saturday’s SEC West matchup between LSU and Ole Miss is the return of head coach Ed Orgeron to Oxford. Orgeron was the Rebels head coach from 2005 to 2007 and won just ten games. During his Monday press conference, Coach O downplayed the trip back to Oxford.
News for Monday 101617
By Dave Graichen
A significant cold front moved through the Bayou State leaving us with some much needed relief. State Climatologist Barry Keim says this front has brought in much cooler and drier Canadian air and pushed out the warm Gulf of Mexico air. He says the afternoon highs will be in the 70s in northern parishes and low 80s in the coastal zone. Keim says this cool weather will stick around all week long. Keim says even as temperatures in the 90s subside, expect a warmer than usual autumn.
After Three days, the trial is over. Antonio Boyd, the so called head of the Triple M Murder Team, took a plea deal during the lunch recess of his trial Friday. The 32 year old Boyd pleaded guilty to racketeering and attempted first-degree murder, receiving sentences at hard labor of 50 years and 35 years, respectively. The sentences were to be served concurrently.
An oil rig exploded in Lake Pontchartrain on Sunday evening (Oct. 15) near St. Charles Parish and north Kenner, according to Kenner Police Department spokesman Sgt. Brian McGregor. Seven people were injured in the explosion, according to Kenner Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Kriss Fortunato, and authorities believe an eighth person is still missing.
Former state Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington, is headed to a Nov. 18 runoff against New Orleans attorney Derrick Edwards to choose Louisiana's next treasurer. Edwards received more votes in the primary, but experts indicated he got into the runoff mostly because he was the only Democrat in the race. Schroder is expected to win a Nov. 18 runoff election and become the next state treasurer of Louisiana.
Louisiana residents voted in favor of three more changes to the state constitution Saturday. Voters decided to prevent ongoing construction from counting toward a property's value for tax purposes. Practically speaking, the change will mostly benefit owners of industrial properties. A property tax exemption was approved for spouses of first responders and a wider swath of law enforcement officers killed while on the job.
Voters also consented to a new restriction on gasoline and fuel taxes. At this point, the restriction is hypothetical since the Louisiana Legislature had refused to implement a new gas or fuel tax in recent years.
City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and former judge Desiree Charbonnet earned spots in a runoff for New Orleans mayor, guaranteeing the city will elect its first woman mayor in the Nov. 18 runoff.
Police have identified the suspect involved in the shooting death of a New Orleans Police Officer. 30-year-old Darren Bridges, a convicted felon, faces a charge of first degree murder in the shooting death Friday of 29-year-old officer Marcus McNeil. Chief Michael Harrison says they are still investigating what exactly happened.
State health officials are reminding Louisianans it’s time to get your annual flu vaccination. The flu season has begun and doctors are starting to see a small number of cases. The Louisiana Department of Health will host flu vaccination clinics until December in all parts of the state and residents can visit LDH’s website for locations and dates. The flu shot is free for individuals with insurance and 10 dollars for those without insurance.
Sasol announces they have hired their 500th employee to support its new 11 billion dollar ethane cracker and derivatives project in Calcasieu Parish and plans to hire at least 200 new employees over the next two years. Kim Cusimano with Sasol says they’ve been working towards this goal for several years. 93-percent of those hired are Louisiana residents and 83-percent are Calcasieu Parish residents. Sasol partnered with the Louisiana Community and Technical College System and SOWELA Technical Community College in Lake Charles to help fill positions. These careers have an average salary of 80-thousand dollars.
Baton Rouge Republican Congressman Garret Graves authored legislation seeking to protect Cajuns, saying they are endangered, because of coastal land loss. He is pushing for them to be protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Graves believes the federal government has been mismanaging the Mississippi River system for years, endangering the Cajun’s way of life. Following discussion on the floor and some good natured jabbing, Graves withdrew his amendment from consideration.
Governor John Bel Edwards says 100 pallets of donated goods will be sent to Puerto Rico. Parishes across the state have been collecting the items for the past couple of weeks. Over 400-thousand packaged items including diapers and baby wipes will be sent to help Hurricane Maria survivors. 300 members of the Louisiana National Guard have been sent to Puerto Rico.
Two Baton Rouge school students are in trouble after a BB gun they allegedly brought to school discharged Friday. Police say the incident happened after students were traveling back to School following a field trip. The male 9th grader who brought the weapon tossed it to a female 9th grade student, that’s when the weapon sischarged striking another student. Both were charged with Negligent Injury and Illegal Carry of a Weapon on school property.
Halloween is only two weeks away and Louisiana residents are rushing to find the hottest costume. Store manager for Halloween Express in Baton Rouge DeMarcus Cox says the most popular costume this year is Pennywise the Clown from the movie It.
The LSU Tigers are once again ranked in the Top 25 polls after their historic come from behind win over Auburn. LSU trailed by 20 points, but roared back to beat their SEC West rival 27-23. The defense held Auburn to 64 yards in the 2nd half. It’s the Tigers largest come from behind win at home since 1949. LSU is now 5-2, 2-1 in the SEC.
The Saints nearly blew a 35-point lead, but an opportunistic Black and Gold defense preserved a 52-38 victory over the Detroit Lions. The Saints defense, which looked very bad at the beginning of the season, forced five turnovers and scored a franchise record three touchdowns in one game. The Saints have won three in a row and for the first time since 2013 they have a winning record at 3-2.
News for Friday 101317
By Dave Graichen
A serial killer in Louisiana? Police have arrested a Clinton man whom they believe is responsible for the deaths of three men and the injuring of yet another in East Feliciana and East Baton Rouge Parishes since July. Police say 36-year-old Ryan Sharpe is expected to be charged with three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. The big question now is what led Sharp to killing the men and what if anything they have in common other than their age.
Investigators are seeking answers in the death of an eight month old child left in a car for several hours. Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Dawn Panepinto says the child’s guardian never dropped off the child to a day care center and when they returned to the daycare to pick up the toddler, it was discovered the infant was still in the vehicle. She says the guardian is cooperating with police.
Tomorrow is Election Day in Louisiana and the polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Secretary of State Tom Schedler predicts about a 15-percent turnout statewide. He expects turnout in Orleans Parish to be a little higher, as New Orleans has a big mayoral election. 13 parishes in the state only have the treasurer’s race and three constitutional amendments on the ballot. In Rapides parish, Fire Protection Dists. No. 4 and 7 have 10 year Rededications. In Road Dist. No. 2B (Ward 11) - 10 Mills tax for 10 Years.
With all the destruction due to numerous fires in California, people can become concerned in Louisiana about the threat for wildfires. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says Caddo, Desoto, Webster and West Carroll Parishes are currently under burn bans with much of the state in moderate danger of fires. He warns if you have to burn, do so only if necessary.
Members of the Louisiana House met Thursday to learn about budget issues. Louisiana faces a fiscal cliff when one-point-38-billion-dollars in temporary revenue ends July 1. Minden Representative Gene Reynolds says they all know what the problem is and they know there are no easy solutions. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris says they had a very positive response from members. Over half of the 103 members attended the meeting.
Former Monroe TV children’s show personality Frank Selas will stand trial on child molestation charges on February 5th. That’s the word from his attorney Mike Small. Selas, also known as Mr. Wonder, allegedly raped a child during a 1979 camping trip in Rapides Parish. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
University of Louisiana at Monroe has made a statement concerning offensive comments made on a private internet group exchange. President Nick Bruno says they have suspended the fraternity Kappa Sigma Pledge for the comments. Bruno says, he is quote “angry and embarrassed that students of the institution chose to conduct themselves in this manner.” He adds that a thorough investigation will be conducted and appropriate actions will be taken.
The Boy Scouts of America have made the decision to allow girls into the organization and allow them to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. Executive Director of the Boy Scouts of Southeast Louisiana Ernesto Carballo says this is a great opportunity for females but isn’t much of a change from what they’ve already been doing. Carballo says many people don’t know that girls are already included in many Boy Scout programs. He says the only change now will be that parents don’t have to run between meetings for their daughters and sons.
With the Louisiana black bear population increasing, the likelihood of bear-versus-human encounters grows. State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries bear expert Maria Davidson says there’s a new website called bear-wise-dot-org, which helps people who have never had to deal with bears before. The black bear was officially moved from the protected list in April of 2016.
Former LSU Head Coach Les Miles says he’s looking forward to his return to Tiger Stadium this weekend as the 10-year-anniversary of the 2007 National Championship team is honored. He says he’ll be honored to stand with that team again. The reunion will be Miles’ first return to Tiger Stadium since his firing in September of last year. The Hat says when LSU called and invited him to be part of the celebration, he immediately said yes. Kickoff for LSU vs. Auburn is scheduled for 2:30pm.
A victory this Sunday over the Detroit Lions will give the Saints a winning record for the first time since the end of the 2013 season. Sunday’s game could be high scoring. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has nine touchdown passes, while Brees has thrown for eight.
News for Thursday 101217
By Dave Graichen
The State AG’s office reports two Rapides Parish men have been charged with child pornography offenses. 35 year old Gabriel Gunter of Lecompte and 57 year old Michael Wayne Tipton of Alexandria remain in the Rapides Parish Detention Center after their arrests by the AG's Cyber Crime and Fugitive Apprehension units.
Opening statements were heard yesterday in the trial of Antonio Boyd, the so called head of the Triple M Murder team. Boyd is charged with second-degree murder, racketeering, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Because of the complexities surrounding the case, it is expected the trial will last more than two weeks.
Louisiana House members will hold a closed door retreat today in order to try to find a fix for a one-billion-dollar plus state budget gap. Alexandria Representative and GOP House Leader Lance Harris says he and Democratic chairman Gene Reynolds thought it would be a good idea to discuss their options. Harris hopes that a bi-partisan plan can be approved. He says this retreat is just one step in what will be many toward a solution. A temporary one-cent sales tax will expire in July 2018, which will leave the state with a budget deficit of over one billion dollars.
Ten current and former LSU students were booked on charges Wedbesday in connection with the suspected hazing death of 18-year-old Maxwell Gruver. All of the individuals are facing a misdemeanor hazing charge and one of them, 18-year-old Matthew Naquin of Texas, also faces a negligent homicide charge
Sean Pennison is one of the ten LSU students arrested as part of the investigation into Max Gruver’s death. His Attorney Franz Borghardt says it’s extremely hard for these students as Max was their friend. He says Pennison is not being charged with Gruver’s death, only hazing. If found guilty of the misdemeanor, Pennison and the others could serve up to 30 days in jail.
Four fraternities at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette have been suspended in the wake of LSU student Maxwell Gruver’s death. ULL Dean of Students Margarita Perez says after Gruver’s death, more students are willing now to come forward and report hazing. ULL suspended the four fraternities for an investigation but no word has been released on what occurred. During the summer, Kappa Sigma, was expelled from the UL-Lafayette campus.
CenturyLink’s next chief executive tells the USA Today Network he will not live in Louisiana, but plans to keep the company’s headquarters in Monroe for now. Jeff Storey takes over as the leader of the Fortune 500 telecommunications company in 2019. The company and the state have a contract that requires Centurylink to remain headquartered in Louisiana through at least 2020. Centurylink employs over 27-hundred people in Louisiana.
The CDC reports Louisiana had the second highest rate of HIV in 2016. Deputy Director for the Louisiana STD/HIV Program Chaquetta Johnson says they are aggressively tackling this epidemic. She says they have partnered with each office of public health and also with community and parish leaders to educate the public on these diseases. Louisiana is ranked second in the country when it comes to the high rates of STDs for the third year in a row.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation has received an additional 60-million-dollars from the federal government for highway projects. Each year, the Federal Highway Administration allocates road repair funds not used by other states or national programs. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says the money will be used to fix several bridges
Former Saints and LSU star Tracy Porter has been arrested on drug and domestic battery charges. Sgt. Don Coppola with the Baton Rouge Police Department says the victim visited Porter trying to get her keys back. That’s when an argument started.
Porter was arrested on charges of battery of dating partner, possession of marijuana and distribution of schedule II drugs.
The 2007 LSU championship team will be honored at halftime this Saturday in Death Valley during the game between the Tigers and Auburn. Members of the ’07 squad and former Coach Les Miles are all slated to attend the reunion on the field. About 65-70 former team members have also agreed to come.
The Ragin Cajuns play in front of a national television audience tonight when they host Texas State in a Sun Belt contest. The Bobcats are 1-and-5 and winless in league play. But Louisiana Coach Mark Hudspeth says Texas State has played better than what their record indicates. The Cajuns struggled on defense in their first four games, but looked much better in the win over Idaho last Saturday.
Saints Coach Sean Payton calls the trade of running back Adrian Peterson to the Arizona Cardinals a “win-win” situation. Payton says the emergence rookie running back Alvin Kamara made it difficult to get Peterson the number of snaps he needs to be successful. The Saints will receive a conditional draft pick in next year’s draft from Arizona in exchange for Peterson. Payton says the Saints still have enough running backs on the roster to get through the season. The Saints host the Lions on Sunday.
Thursday night NFL tonight. It’s the Carolina Panthers and The Philadelphia Eagles. Here the game starting at 7 on ESPN 1410 and 93.1 HD3
News for Wednesday 101117
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria Police arrested an employee at Rapides Regional Medical Center for allegedly raping a patient who is suffering from dementia. It’s been reported another employee caught 27-year-old Juantavies White of Alexandria in the act. White has been charged with first-degree rape. The investigation is ongoing.
The Rapides Parish Fair officially gets underway today and will continue through Sunday. As of right now, the weather looks perfect for the entire run. The hours today will be from 4-11, Thursday 3-11, Friday and Saturday the fair will run til 11:30 each evening and until 8pm Sunday.. Discount tickets are still available at the Cenla Broadcasting Studios at 1115 Texas avenue $25 (cash only) for 50 Tickets. That’s 50% off. The hours 9 to 4 today and tomorrow.
The Morning Consult group says that President Donald Trump’s approval ratings have dropped some, but only two percent in Louisiana. U-L-M Political Science professor Dr. Joshua Stockley says the drop from a 59 percent approval in January to 57 percent now is not a big deal… The president’s approval rating in Louisiana is still the fourth highest in the country.
Champion Home Builders announces a manufactured housing production facility will be established in the Vernon Parish town of Leesville. Mayor Rick Allen says these jobs are desperately needed and will provide good wages and benefits to employees. He says the project will create 200 direct jobs and 218 indirect jobs.
As a result of criminal justice reform measures passed in the last legislative session, 14-hundred inmates in Louisiana will be released early from prison in November. Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator said last week that some extremely dangerous criminals could be back on our streets. But Criminal Justice Reform Field Director for the Southern Poverty Law Center John Burkhardt says no one convicted of sex crimes, manslaughter or murder will be released early as a result of the legislation approved earlier this year. He says the new sentencing laws accelerate the release mechanism for inmates on good time parole.
The N-F-L has been more about the National Anthem than the game itself recently. Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all 32 teams, specifying that all players and coaches quote – “should stand for the National Anthem.” N-F-L analyst Mike Detellier says it’s sad team owners didn’t force the issue prior to Goodell’s memo. Detellier says President Donald Trump’s remarks about the N-F-L helped to keep the controversy alive and has proved to be problematic for the league
Lafayette police say they have arrested a Baton Rouge man in connection with the death of a woman injected with silicone. 23-year-old Brionna Guillory died after allegedly receiving the injections from 33-year-old Vincent Jamal Boles. Lafayette Police Corporal Karl Ratcliff says the silicone traveled throughout Guillory’s body to her heart and lungs.
Monroe-based Flying Tiger Brewery will donate a portion of the revenues from their latest brew, War Hawk, to scholarships through the University of Louisiana Monroe Foundation. Flying Tiger Co-owner Robert Brewer says they want to help ULM because the school doesn’t get the credit it deserves, aside from academics.
High school students from across the state will be designing the new Louisiana Seafood logo. The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board has partnered with the Louisiana Department of Education to let students design the new logo. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says it’s a good way for students to use the creative skills they have learned. Submissions will be accepted through December 15th and is open to all high school students in Louisiana. The winner will be announced in April 2018.
The father for wounded East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Tullier says his son is making remarkable progress. Tullier was seriously injured during a police ambush in Baton Rouge in July 2016. James Tullier says his son has been moved from a rehab facility in Houston to the Transitional Learning Center in Galveston, Texas, marking an important point in his recovery. James Tullier says his son is continuing to beat the odds so much so that doctor’s predictions on the final outcome have long been surpassed…
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is alerting parents, guardians and consumers there are several child products that have been recently recalled. Landry has a list on his website. Among the items that are listed…Strollers by Delta, Activity Toys by Manhattan Toy, Children’s Pajamas by Sweet Bamboo and Nightlight Soothers by Skip Hop.
Future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson is no longer a Saint. New Orleans has traded the veteran to Arizona for a conditional draft pick. Peterson had trouble fitting in with the Saints as he only ran the ball 27 times for 81 yards, while the Cardinals have been looking for a running back since losing David Johnson to a wrist injury in the season opener.
News for Tuesday 101017
By Dave Graichen
State Police are investigating a fatal crash on I-10 eastbound near Butte La Rose in St. Martin Parish, where an 18-wheeler was engulfed in flames Monday morning. State Police say the driver of the big rig drove off the interstate into a bridge and traveled down the road before the truck overturned and burst into flames. Master Trooper Brooks David says emergency crews needed several hours to clean up the mess which included a load of potatoes. Officials confirmed the driver of the truck was killed in the crash.
Baton Rouge-area law enforcement are investigating a shooting Monday that killed a camp ranger at the Avondale Scout Reservation in Clinton and its possible link to three other shootings over the last four months. The victim has been identified as 48-year-old Brad DeFrancheschi (De-Fran Chess-Key). Authorities say the man was close to the road when he was shot multiple times in front of his home. The Monday shooting happened on the same road less than 10 miles away from where a Sept. 12 drive-by shooting injured, but didn't kill a 47-year-old man who was exercising near the roadside on his property.
The formation of Tropical Storm Ophelia in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean makes it 15 named storms during this very active Atlantic hurricane season. The good news is, the storm is moving away from the U.S. mainland.
Election Day is less than a week away for the special election to select a new State Treasurer. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says usually we see numerous ads in the days leading up to an election, but this quiet race to remain quiet. The state treasurer’s race features three Republican candidates, who have been able to raise some money. There’s also a Democrat, but he has failed to receive the endorsement of his own party. Pinsonat says none of these candidates have enough money to make a huge push before election day.
Financial help is being provided for the family of a slain Lafayette Police Officer. 44-year-old Corporal Michael Middlebrook was killed last week in the line of. Community Foundation of Acadiana President Raymond Hebert says the support towards the family has been incredible. Donations may be made through the website cfacadiana.org
Former LSU and pro Hall of Fame quarterback, Y.A. Tittle, passed away Sunday night at the age of 90, the school confirmed today. Tittle was a two-time All SEC quarterback when he played for LSU. He enjoyed his greatest team success by leading the Giants to three straight Eastern Conference titles, passing for 86 touchdowns between 1961 and 1963.
The University of Louisiana System has set a goal to graduate 150-thousands students by 2025. U-L System President Jim Henderson says if this can be accomplished by the nine universities in the system, these students will be the most educated generation in Louisiana history. Henderson says it’s time Louisiana started to invest more in its students. He says we need to focus more on the outcomes of investments, rather than what it costs on the front end.
Iberville Parish leaders will discuss a proposed law on October 17th that would prevent an individual from damaging or defacing the nation’s or the state’s flag. Councilman Matthew Jewell says last Veterans Day, a group of people ripped down and burned an American flag. He says the veterans were extremely upset about it so he decided to take action. Jewell says strong penalties would come along with the ordinance.
News for Monday 100917
By Dave Graichen
Early voting for the October 14th election, which ended on Saturday, was very light. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says the turnout for the election this Saturday might be even lower than 20-percent. The ballot includes a special election for state treasurer, a south Louisiana Public Service Commission seat, three constitutional amendments and the general New Orleans mayoral race, where 18 candidates are running.
Hurricane Nate steered east of New Orleans after making a double landfall Saturday night, first in Louisiana near the mouth of the Mississippi River then again nearby just outside Biloxi. The storm's winds never reached the Category 2 strength that forecasters had suggested could happen, and New Orleans was spared the storm's brunt. But, we’re not out of the woods yet. A Tropical disturbance formed Sunday in Atlantic. Forecasters say it has a 70 percent chance of developing.
Now that Hurricane Nate is a memory for Louisiana, what will that mean for gas prices? Oil rigs from Louisiana to Alabama were shut down and the industry hasn’t fully recovered from Hurricane Harvey in August. Don Redman from Triple-A says any increase in prices we see will be short lived. Refineries are also gearing up to switch from the summer blend to winter grade gasoline, which Redman says could affect prices. Despite the storm, Redman says drivers are paying more on average than we have for the past several years.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has identified A body found in Buhlow Lake as that of 62 year old Philip Brandt III of Alexandria. Boaters found Brandt's body around 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon. Brandt was pronounced dead at the scene. A red kayak and a paddle that belonged to Brandt were found about 100 yards away from his body. An autopsy is pending to determine the cause of death.
With the decline in diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, any hope of exporting Louisiana goods is shrinking. A year ago, Governor John Bel Edwards and State Agricultural Commissioner Mike Strain led a delegation from Louisiana to Cuba to strength the relationship between the Bayou State and the island nation. Strain says if the trade embargo with Cuba is lifted it could mean millions of dollars for the state and the ag industry, so he’s hopeful the diplomatic relations can be restored.
The Florida Gators paid tribute to Tom Petty during Saturday's 17-16 home loss to LSU.
Petty's 1989 hit "I Won't Back Down" played over the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium sound system between the third and fourth quarters on Saturday. To the dismay of some Florida fans, that was also the same time the LSU band started playing. Gators fans were not amused. Petty , who died last week, was born and raised in Gainesville, Petty once worked as a groundskeeper at the University of Florida as he tried to make it in the music industry.
After suffering the program’s first loss against a team from the Sun Belt Conference, the LSU Tigers bounced back with a 17-16 win victory over Florida in the Swamp. It was a hard fought victory for the Tigers, who finished with three freshmen on the offensive line because of injuries.
Louisiana Tech also suffered a tough loss on Saturday as UAB blocked a 30-yard field goal with 3 seconds left to preserve a 23-22 win over the Bulldogs. Louisiana Tech was a big favorite to win the game.
The Ragin Cajuns snapped a three-game losing streak by going on the road and beating Idaho 21-16
News for Friday 100617
By Dave Graichen
Nate continues to make its way to the Gulf Coast with Louisiana in its sights. David Zelinsky (Zuh-lin-ski) with the National Hurricane Center says Gulf Coast residents need to remain alert this weekend. The good news is Nate will not be as strong a storm as Harvey, Irma or Maria. This will be the fourth named storm to reach U.S. Landfall this year.
Governor John Bel Edwards held his first briefing on Nate and said they do anticipate that Louisiana will take a direct hit when it makes landfall. He says the state is prepared, but people need to pay attention. Edwards says Nate is expected to impact the area early Sunday morning, as either a strong tropical storm, or category one hurricane. He says that could change at any time, and he encourages residents to monitor the updates, and follow directions you’re given from local authorities. Edwards says he has asked President Donald Trump to declare a pre-landfall state of emergency in Louisiana.
The Grand Isle Mayor has issued a voluntary evacuation order, as the island is expecting 4 to 5 inches of rain; and unusually high tides. Grand Isle schools will be closed Friday and Monday.
Nate is affecting some sports events in Louisiana. The LSU-Florida game is still on in Gainesville, but other games have been affected. Tulane will now play Tulsa at 11am, Nicholls State versus Northwestern State will kick off at 11am in Thibodaux instead of 6:30. And the Southeastern Louisiana-Incarnate Word contest in Hammond begins at 10am…
State Police have arrested a St. Joseph mother for allegedly murdering her newborn and putting him in the dumpster. The one day old boy was found Monday in front of an elementary school. Senior Trooper Michael Reichardt says 21-year-old Alicia Richard is charged with first degree murder. An autopsy has been performed on the infant and the cause of death is ruled to be blunt force trauma. Bond is set at 200-thousand-dollars
Governor John Bel Edwards can’t understand why Congress didn’t include 2016 Louisiana flood victims in legislation that gives this year’s hurricane victims special disaster tax breaks. The bill has five tax relief provisions. Edwards says Congress should not pit storm victims against one another.
Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator says the 192 felons that will be released early from prison next month in Caddo Parish is due to new laws. He says Louisiana does need some reform but. During a news conference in Shreveport today, Prator gave examples of the kind of inmates that will be set free next month as a result of the new laws laws. The Sheriff says he knows of one prisoner who will be let out seven years early who should not be out on the streets.
Former New Orleans Congressman William Jefferson is set to be released from his 13-year prison sentence for taking bribes. A federal judge says seven out of ten counts against Jefferson are now invalid. The feds must now decide if they want to pursue the remaining 3 counts. Loyola University law professor Dane Ciolino says the ruling is based on a U.S. Supreme Court decision involving former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell’s corruption case .Ciolino says Jefferson’s time in prison might be done based on yesterday’s ruling.
New data from InsuranceQuotes finds Louisianans who bundle their auto and home insurance could save an average of nearly 600 dollars a year. Senior insurance analyst Laura Adams says if you own a home and are a driver in the Bayou State, you can save about 19-percent on insurance. Adams says it’s a good idea to shop around with different providers.
The LSU Tigers are ranked as the nation’s fifth most-valuable college football program in a report out of Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus. The analysis, by Ryan Brewer, an associate professor of finance, broke down each team’s available revenue and expenses from 2016. He found that if the Tigers were for sale, they’d be worth about $911 million dollars.
The LSU Tigers take on No. 21 Florida tomorrow on the road, and not many people are giving The Bayou Bengals much of a chance in the Swamp. Associate Tiger Rag Editor James Moran says if LSU wants to start winning games, they are going to have to start playing a lot better. This is the game that was supposed to be played in Baton Rouge, but Hurricane Matthew forced the 2016 contest to be moved from Gainesville.
News for Thursday 100517
By Dave Graichen
Norris Greenhouse Jr. was sentenced to seven and half years Wednesday for his role in the shooting death of 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis. The former Marksville Marshal pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and malfeasance in office. An earlier trial stemming from the incident resulted in Derrick Stafford, another ex-Marshal, being sentenced to 40 years for manslaughter. The shooting victim’s father, Christopher Few says he’s glad there will not be another trial.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting the development of a hurricane develop in the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. Right now, the system called Tropical Depression 16 is near Central America, but it will head north in the coming days. The current forecast track has what could be Hurricane Nate making landfall as a Category One storm anywhere between the Mississippi-Alabama line to Tampa, Florida.
Authorities in Winn Parish report a huge drug bust . Local and federal authorities have indicted 21 people after a lengthy investigation into drug trafficking in Winn Parish. Eleven of the defendants were indicted on federal charges, and 10 face state charges. All but one of the 21 are in custody.
Rapides Parish School Board employees will receive an extra $297 check on Nov. 17.
The money represents excess collections from a half-cent sales tax passed last year to give school system employees raises. Board members voted Tuesday to distribute the roughly $1.2 million next month ahead of Thanksgiving and the approaching holiday season. School Board employees received a similar excess check in May.
Visitation is today for fallen Lafayette Police Officer Cpl. Michael Middlebrook who was killed during an exchange of gunfire at a convenience store last weekend. Police Chief Toby Aguillard says Middlebrook was born in Thibodeaux and had a stellar nine year career with Lafayette PD. Middlebrook was allegedly shot by 28-year-old Ian Howard who is in jail without bond and charged with first degree murder.
State Police are awaiting autopsy results on an infant that was found dead in a dumpster in Tensas Parish. Media reports say the grisly discovery was made at Tensas Elementary School. Senior Trooper Michael Reichardt says once the autopsy is completed they’ll have a better idea as to what happened.
Allergy sufferers might be suffering a bit due to the hot and humid conditions over the past few weeks. Doctor Sanjay (CAM-BO-JUH) Kamboj, an allergy expert at LSU Health New Orleans says those with allergies should use saline nasal spray twice a day, and follow that with nasal steroids. He also recommends keeping windows and doors closed and running the air conditioner to help filter out allergens.
The LSU fraternity pledge who died last month may have drank an excessive amount of alcohol during a drinking game according to Police records. Legal analyst Tim Meche says although there is Louisiana law to hold someone responsible for causing an overdose by injecting illegal drugs, there is no such law for alcohol. Because of this Meche says the fraternity members involved should avoid felony charges. Max Gruver died after a night of playing the game called “Bible Study” in which pledges had to drink for incorrect answers to questions about the frat.
News for Wednesday 100417
By Dave Graichen
Thoughts and prayers going out to the family of 20 year old Specialist Alexander Missildine, a soldier based at Fort Polk. Missildine was killed and another soldier was injured in Iraq Sunday when an IED detonated near their convoy. Missildine was from Tyler, Texas and was a motor transport operator. He served with 710th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.
A broad area of low pressure has formed over the southwestern Caribbean Sea and it’s expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico by the weekend. State Climatologist Barry Keim says it has a medium chance of developing into a tropical depression by this weekend. Forecasters are also watching a trough of low pressure over Cuba.
The State Police are investigating an officer involved shooting death during a traffic stop in Ouachita Parish Monday afternoon. The OPSO report says the driver pulled a gun from his waistband and one of two deputies at the scene fired a fatal bullet killing the suspect. A passenger in the vehicle, 35-year-old William Underwood, was later taken into custody and is facing multiple charges.
Saints Coach Sean Payton says current gun laws are flawed and frustrating as he spoke about gun control in light of the massacre that occurred in Las Vegas. In a conference call with beat reporters, Payton says the current system in our country right now is not working and that there has to be a better way. Payton says if people don’t like his position for common sense gun control, that’s tough.
Louisiana is set to receive 55-million dollars in federal grant money to improve the reading and writing skills of struggling students. State department of education spokesperson Sydni Dunn says the state will receive 18.5 million dollars each year for the next three years. State officials say only 36-percent of Louisiana children are able to read and write on grade level by fourth grade. Dunn says this grant will accelerate the learning of all students reading below grade level.
Police reports say the LSU fraternity pledge who died last month may have been forced to drink an excessive amount of alcohol as part of an initiation ritual called “Bible Study.” Phi Delta Theta pledges who gave incorrect answers to questions about the frat were forced to drink. Officials believe 18-year-old Maxwell Gruver’s death is a possible hazing incident.
What Houma natives Holly and Tracy Pitre thought would be an evening of dancing and fun at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas turned into a night of terror. Holly says they are lucky to be at the right place at the right time to avoid being killed or injured as a gunman fired shots from the 32nd floor of the Mandalya Bay hotel. The couple are home safe and sound.
Police arrested a man in his underwear after he allegedly crashed through a fence at the Slidell Municipal Airport and hit utility pole. Slidell Police Detective Daniel Seuzeneau says 43-year-old Kevin Bolton told his authorities he was on his way to see a voodoo doctor. Bolton has been charged with careless operation and hit and run.
Norwegian Cruise Line has announced it’s sending the Norwegian Breakaway to sail from New Orleans beginning in November of next year. This will be the largest cruise vessel ever to sail out of The Big Easy. Port of New Orleans spokesperson Donnell Jackson says this ship is over 1,000 feet and will hold about 4,000 passengers. The Norwegian Breakaway will sail seven, ten and 11 day seasonal cruises.
News for Tuesday 100317
By Dave Graichen
An arrest has been made in Sunday night’s shooting death of a Lafayette police officer at a convenience store. 28 year old, Ian Paul Howard was arrested in connection with the death of Officer Michael Middlebrook. Howard is charged with one count of first degree murder of a police officer. State Trooper Brooks (DAH-VEED) David says two people inside the convenience store sustained non-life threatening injuries. Howard was a nine-year veteran of the police force.
Governor John Bel Edwards has issued a statement in response to the Sunday night killing of a Lafayette police officer as well as the horrific mass shooting that took place at a country music festival Sunday night in Las Vegas. The governor issuing an executive order lowering the Louisiana and American flags over all state public buildings through Friday.
One person died and another person was seriously wounded in a shooting on Interstate-20 in Shreveport shortly after midnight Monday. Shreveport authorities say they believe the victims were shot by someone with a rifle. The driver, 22-year-old Kenyon Frazier, was shot multiple times and doctors say he has life-threatening injuries. The deceased person has not been identified.
A “Save LSU Football” GoFundMe campaign has been set up to buy out Coach Ed Orgeron and Athletic Director Joe Alleva. But Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says getting rid of Coach O would cost the program $12 million dollars and they’re still paying Les Miles $9 million dollars — plus former men’s basketball coach Johnny Jones and his assistants are also getting buyout money. The Tigers football team is off to a disappointed 3-and-2 start.
A self-inflicted gunshot to the head is the cause of death listed on the East Baton Rouge Coroner’s autopsy report for the LSU student whose body was found on Friday evening by hunters. 21 year old, Michael Nickelotte Junior had gone missing on September 18th. The Louisiana State Police Crime Lab used DNA tests to make a positive ID of the remains Monday.
State Police say two of their own troopers have been demoted in rank for the expensive road trip they took to a law enforcement conference in San Diego last year. It was determined the troopers took a side trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, paid for by taxpayers. The trip cost a reported 19-thousand dollars.
A Shreveport TV station is reporting the former mayor of Stanley and current alderwoman of the DeSoto Parish town has died as a result of home explosion that occurred on September 18th. 92-year-old Dwena Henry suffered extensive burns and was at the University Hospital in Shreveport. The home exploded as a result of a natural gas leak.
News for Monday 100217
By Dave Graichen
Former Marksville city deputy marshal Norris Greenhouse Junior agrees to a plea deal and a seven and a half year prison sentence for the 2015 fatal shooting of a six-year-old boy. Authorities say Greenhouse and Derrick Stafford opened fire on Christopher Few’s car, wounding him and killing his son. Stafford received a 40-year sentence on a manslaughter conviction. Legal analyst Tim Meche says the Few family is likely satisified. Greenhouse plead guilty to negligent homicide and malfeasance in office.
Early voting is now under way for the October 14th election. New Orleans has a race for mayor, while south Louisiana voters can vote for candidates for the Public Service Commission. Statewide ballots have three constitutional amendments listed and voters can select from candidates for State Treasurer. Voters can take advantage of early voting until October 7th.
We’re coming towards the end of the Atlantic hurricane season but that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods just yet. State Climatologist Barry Keim says Louisiana has seen some notable hurricanes in the month of October. He says Hurricane Juan hit our coast in 1985 from October 28th to the 31st. Keim says so far, we’ve had 14 named storms and the Colorado State Forecast Team predicts 16 this season. He says the season technically ends November 30th.
State Climatologist Barry Keim says this is one of the driest September’s on record. He says statewide there’s been less one inch of rainfall this month and we usually see an average of over four inches for September. Keim says a lack of tropical activity explains the abnormally dry month.
Over three-hundred Louisiana National Guardsmen are set deploy to Puerto Rico to assist after the devastation brought by Hurricane Maria. Governor’s office of homeland security and emergency preparedness spokesperson Mike Steele says GOHSEP and the Guard are also sending an 11-person team to help Puerto Rican officials find housing for displaced citizens. A smaller emergency team will go to the U-S Virgin Islands to help their recovery from Hurricane Irma. Steele says the governor is happy to lend this kind of support.
Starting with the freshman class in the fall of 2018, first year LSU students are required to live on campus. Assistant Vice President for Residential Life Steve Waller says they’ve been working towards this goal for a few years because research shows students who live in a dorm their first year of college perform better in school. Waller says many dormitory construction projects are expected to be completed by next fall so there are enough beds to accommodate the increase in freshmen staying on campus.
Students 21 years or older or have medical needs can also be exempt.
The search for the missing LSU student turned up a body that authorities think is 21 year old Michael Nickelotte Junior. The body was discovered by hunters off of Ben Hur road, just south of the campus. Investigators do not suspect foul play at this time. DNA tests will be done for a positive ID of the remains. Michael Nickelotte Junior had last been seen on September 18th at a campus apartment complex.
An LSU political science professor finds that proactive policing may be counter-productive as a deterrent to major crime. Christopher Sullivan studied a specific seven-week period when the New York Police Department halted aggressive policing against minor crimes and the data shows serious criminal activity dropped. The public complaints of major crime declined by three to six percent during the halt on proactive policing.
After starting the season with back-to-back losses, the Saints have put together two consecutive victories. New Orleans dominated the Dolphins 20-0 at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday and head into the bye week with a two-and-two record. Miami only had 185 yards of offense. It was the Saints first shutout since 2012 and for the fourth consecutive game, New Orleans did not have a turnover.
LSU’s homecoming celebration was ruined by Troy University, who came into Baton Rouge and upset the once mighty Tigers 24-21. The Trojans took control of the game with a turnover on the first offensive play and then a quick touchdown. At one point, Troy had a 17 point lead. The loss drops LSU’s record to 3-2 and has many fans wondering if this team will be able to qualify for a bowl game.
ULM is 2-0 in the Sun Belt Conference after beating Coastal Carolina 51-43 on Saturday. ULM is now 2-and-2 on the season and 2-0 in the Sun Belt for the first time since the 2014 season. The Warhawks are Texas State next Saturday.
Louisiana Tech beat South Alabama Saturday 34 to 16 Tech is now 3 and 2 on the season.
News for Friday 092917
By Dave Graichen
Early voting begins tomorrow for the October 14th election, but Secretary of State Tom Schedler doesn’t expect a big turnout. Three constitutional amendments, the state treasurer’s race and a few big local elections are on the ballot. However, Schedler says there has not been much publicity. There is also a vacant Public Service Commissioner seat on the ballot for many voters in south Louisiana, as Scott Angelle left his post to work for President Donald Trump. Early voting is from 8:30 am to 6 p.m. and starts Saturday and continues through October 7th, except on Sunday.
Voters should be aware of three constitutional amendments on the October 14thballot. Amendment number one establishes a property tax exemption for construction work in progress. Amendment two would give surviving spouses of first responders who died while on duty a property tax exemption. And amendment three would create a construction subfund of the transportation trust fund that would force any new revenue from any future increase in the state gas tax to go towards road and highway construction projects and nothing else.
The state Department of Transportation’s Motorist Assistance Patrol Program, or MAP program, is headed to Alexandria to help with serious congestion problems in the region. Deidrea Druilhet with DOTD says the goal of introducing the MAP program to this central Louisiana area is to get traffic back to peak capacity by providing free help to drivers. Druilhet says the MAP program has proven successful in Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, Shreveport and New Orleans. She says patrols will be out to assist on local highways, not just I-49.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was greeted with a roaring ovation yesterday when he returned to the U.S. Capitol for the first time since he was shot by a gunman in the left hip The Metairie native says while it was an evil act, he was able to see the goodness of people. 60 minutes will have a feature on Scalise on Sunday night.
A UNO statewide poll finds a majority of Louisiana voters believe NFL players who do not stand for the national anthem should be punished. But Researcher Tony Licciardi says there was a stark difference between black and white respondents, 70-percent of whites say they should penalized, while only 34-percent of blacks felt the same. He says big racial divides in polling are not uncommon. The survey also found 49-percent approve of President Donald Trump’s job performance, while 45-percent disapprove.
The two suspects wanted in the fatal stabbing of an 82-year-old woman in Shreveport are in a jail in Texas awaiting extradition back to Caddo Parish. Shreveport Police say Roy Narcisse and Kiana Williams of Ville Platte were located in San Angelo, Texas and they were still in possession of the victim’s vehicle.
West Baton Rouge officials say a 5 year old Lafayette boy passed away Thursday from the injuries he sustained in a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 10 on Tuesday. Xander Cruz clung to life for two days after an 18 wheeler struck three vehicles on Tuesday. His grandmother says the boy’s organs will be donated to others.
One week after multiple Louisiana Sheriff’s Offices announced a lawsuit against several opioid manufacturers, the state Health Department has filed its own lawsuit claiming these drug companies helped fuel a severe opioid epidemic. Legal Analyst Tim Meche says it could be difficult for the plaintiffs in a trial, because opioids are regulated and approved by the FDA and prescribed by doctors.
Parkway High School in Bossier Parish has told students that any school athlete that kneels or disrespects the flag during the national anthem could be kicked off the team. Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana Marjorie Esman says the laws of our country do not allow the schools to prohibit students from peacefully protesting in this manner. Esman says they haven’t heard of any other school districts prohibiting students from this type of protest. But she says they issued a statement so other schools thinking of taking similar action know what the law is.
LSU faces Troy for homecoming tomorrow night. After losing the season opener to Boise State, the Trojans have won three in a row. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Troy is not a team you can overlook…LSU is coming off an uninspiring victory over Syracuse. Moran says he’ll look for improved play from the offensive line, after they struggled to pass block last week. You can hear the game starting at 4 on 970 KSYL and 96.9 KZMZ.
News for Thursday 092817
By Dave Graichen
Cleco announces a new two year, 130-million dollar project to improve customer service and it will also help stimulate the economy. Spokesperson Jennifer Cahill says they are calling it the START program and it will create 221 jobs, as they will replace Cleco’s core technology of multiple systems with one primary system. She says the START program will improve efficiency and also help the state and local economies.
Crime Stoppers is asking for information on the robbery of the South Circle Pawn shop in Alexandria last Thursday. The APD reports a large quantity on fire arms were taken in the overnight robbery. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 443-7867 or go to rpso.org/crime-stoppers. A reward is being offered and all information is confidential.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says although he’s on an official trip in Europe to promote Louisiana tourism, he’s decided to not attend the Saints Sunday game at Wembley Stadium. This is due to some Saints players failing to stand for the national anthem. Nungesser says he’s worked with people who have lost loved ones in war.
Nungesser says he won’t support anyone who disrespects the national anthem.
Meanwhile, though some lawmakers have called on the state to cut tax benefits to the Saints organization Senate President John Alario says that would be just as un-American as not standing for the anthem. Governor John Bel Edwards says it’s unfortunate to see NFL players not stand for national anthem, but that doesn’t mean the state can end its current agreement with the Saints.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot at a Republican Congressional Baseball team practice last June, will appear on 60 minutes Sunday to discuss his road to recovery.
St. Bernard Parish authorities say a 56-year-old man attacked his ex-wife with an ax as she left her home for work Wednesday morning, killing her. 48-year-old Kimberly Owens suffered fatal injuries as her mother watched from the home. The sheriff says Kimberly Owens had a restraining order against Mark Owens, who turned himself in.
Shreveport police detectives are trying to determine who fatally stabbed an 82-year-old woman who lived alone. Kathleen Cates was pronounced dead at the scene, suffering from multiple stab wounds. Neighbors say a man and woman performed yard work at the home before she was killed. They are considered persons of interest.
17-year-old Vincent Cummings has been arrested in connection to the death of an 8-month-old girl in Baton Rouge. Sgt. Don Coppola says Cummings admitted to police that 8-month-old Katelyn Carter was acting strange so he picked the child up and squeezed her extremely hard. He is charged with second degree murder and cruelty to a juvenile.
Lake Charles Police have charged a former Angola prison inmate with the fatal shooting of a 10-year-old child and his 17 year old brother who was also injured in the shooting incident. Authorities arrested 50-year-old Felton Thompson in New Orleans overnight. He served 24 years in Angola for armed robbery. A motive for last weekend’s shooting is not known.
Defensive end Cam Jordan was one of the ten Saints players who sat during last Sunday’s playing of the national anthem prior to the victory against Carolina. Jordan says he respects the flag and our troops and he loves everything about our country, but he felt they needed to do something after President Donald Trump said players should be fired for protesting during the anthem. Jordan says the demonstrations are to highlight social injustices that occur in America and they are not trying to create a rift, but they are pushing for unity.
Quarterback Drew Brees says if you’re an American, you should stand with your hand over your hear during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner. Brees says before this Sunday’s Dolphins game in London, the team plans on being unified during the national anthem.
News for Wednesday 092717
By Dave Graichen
Jury selection will begin on Monday morning in Marksville as scheduled in the trial of Norris Greenhouse Jr. The attorney for Greenhouse asked the 12th district court, due to the extreme media coverage of the story, to move the trial during a hearing on Monday. Yesterday, Judge William Bennett ruled the only way to know if Greenhouse can receive a fair trial in Avoyelles Parish is to question potential jurors. Greenhouse faces charges of attempted second-degree and second-degree murder in the Nov. 3, 2015, shooting of Christopher Few and his son, Jeremy Mardis.
The latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Healthcare Act pushed by Senator Bill Cassidy is over for now as the votes are not there in the U.S Senate. However, Cassidy says on a bi-partisan level, lawmakers believe Obamacare is not doing well, so he’s not giving up. Cassidy’s bill would have given block grant health care funding to states for them to decide how to use it.
Now that Senate GOP leaders have decided not to vote on a bill that would repeal Obamacare, Louisiana’s Junior Senator John Kennedy says it’s time for Congress to focus on tax reform. He says cutting taxes is the only thing that will get the economy moving again. Kennedy says citizens are taxed on just about every single thing they do, and over-regulation is strangling the economy. He says his goal is to implement tax cuts, both for middle class Americans and for businesses, by November.
The push back continues over the decision by ten Saints players not to stand for the national anthem prior to Sunday’s game against Carolina. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser told two media outlets he’s boycotting the team. Nungesser says not standing for the anthem is un-American and offensive to the military.
Another lawmaker has voiced her disapproval of multiple Saints players refusing to stand for the national anthem. Denham Springs Representative Valarie Hodges wants to examine the team’s agreement with Louisiana that contains state subsidies. She’s called for a discussion to take place during next month’s legislative budget meeting.
Hodges says the American flag is not a political symbol for NFL players to use to protest. She says it’s un-American to see players kneel, some with their fists in the air.
It’s been a month since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, and gas prices are slowly starting to go down after about 28% of refining capacity was knocked out because of the storm. Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, says with the switch-over to winter-blend gasoline, demand beginning to slow and Gulf Coast refineries coming back, consumers can expect to see much lower prices at the pump next month.
5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham will hold a listening session on Friday morning at Rayville High School to receive input from farmers and ag leaders on what they want included in the 2018 Farm Bill. Abraham wants to know what is working and what could be improved. State Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain and the Louisiana Farm Bureau President Ronnie Anderson will attend the listening session.
East Baton Rouge authorities found a body underneath a truck early Tuesday morning. Now, Stephen Herbert is charged with DWI and negligent homicide in the death of his brother Kirk Hebert. EBR Sheriff spokesperson Casey Hicks says Stephen Hebert admitted that he and his brother had been drinking. She says that beyond that, the suspect did not remember much.
Lafayette Police say an Oklahoma man broke into a woman’s home, sexually assaulted her and forced her to withdraw money from an ATM. Corporal Karl Ratcliff says 22-year-old Devon Bell had only been in the area for a few days. The victim alerted police after the suspect fled from her vehicle.
An Arcadia Councilwoman faces up to 10 years in prison after she was convicted of stealing water bill payments when she served as the town’s clerk. Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street says Patricia Hampton used the public’s money for her own personal use. Hampton will be sentenced on November eighth and she’s been automatically suspended from public office, pending an appeal.
Five teenagers are accused of damaging over 50 Christmas trees at the Shady Pond Farm in St. Tammany Parish. Owner Clarke Gernon says 10 trees were destroyed during Labor Day weekend and the perpetrators came back last weekend, but this time the state forestry department set up motion-detection cameras and the vandalism was caught on video. Gernon says damage was in excess of six thousand dollars.
News for Tuesday 092617
By Dave Graichen
A total of six suspects have now been charged in connection with the shooting death of 19-year-old De'Juan Ledet last Wednesday on Duhon lane. Two were charged the day after the shooting, while two more were charged over the weekend. Monday afternoon, the APD announced 17 year old Donerious Roy and 19-year-old Devontae Chism were being booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on charges of first-degree murder and armed robbery. The department arrested 19-year-old Marcel Jones and an unidentified 16-year-old over the weekend.
A hearing was held yesterday on a change of venue in the case of Norris Greenhouse Jr. Last week, Greenhouse, Jr.'s attorney, George Higgins, filed a motion for a change of venue citing too much pretrial publicity. Greenhouse faces a murder and attempted murder charge for the 2015 death of 6 year old Jeremy Mardis and the shooting of his father, Chris Few. Following the hearing, no decision was made by Judge William Bennett, but a decision could come as soon as today.
Once again Louisiana ranks in the top five for the rate of women who are murdered by men. The Violence Policy Center looked at the latest data available, which is 2015, and found the rate in Louisiana is double the national average and the Bayou State has the third highest rating in the country. Executive director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Mariah Wineski, says one factor is inadequate funding for domestic violence services, for those seeking immediate safety. Another factor is easy firearm access for abusers. She says state and federal law prohibit many abusers from possessing firearms, but Louisiana lacks any consistent process for actually implementing these prohibitions.
Ten Saints players sat on the bench during the national anthem prior to the team’s win over Carolina, now a state lawmaker says it’s time for Louisiana to stop giving the professional franchise taxpayer dollars. St. Francisville Representative Kenny Havard says these players have a right to protest, but they should not do it during the anthem.
The Saints receive millions of dollars in tax dollars, exemptions and credits.
Dozens of NFL players didn’t stand during the anthem following comments made by President Donald Trump at a rally in Alabama. Mr. Trump said the NFL should fire players who sit or knee during the anthem. Saints QB Drew Brees disagrees with the President. But Brees wishes the protests for social inequality didn’t involve sitting during the anthem.
A 10-year-old was killed and a teenager was injured in a shooting that happened Sunday night in Lake Charles. Deputy Chief Mark Kraus says this is not a case where two children were playing with a gun and it accidentally discharged. He says someone shot these kids. The 10-year-old child that died is Jaylyn Citizen and the 17-year-old is in stable condition, after undergoing surgery.
State Police say a 7 year old was killed in a single vehicle crash in St. Charles parish. Trooper Melissa Matey says they believe the driver, 32 year old Islam Ezzo was impaired when he ran off of the roadway. State Police say the child was not properly restrained.
Six Winnfield Senior High School students were recognized on the House floor by Congressman Ralph Abraham after serving as pallbearers for a World War II veteran. 93-year-old Thomas Hunter had no close family so the football players stepped up after learning about the situation. Abraham says this is an inspiring story about a community rallying to honor a hero.
There’s yet another reality show with northeast Louisiana ties that is quickly becoming the latest TV craze. Rednecks 4 Hire follows three men who do nasty jobs that nobody else wants to deal with. David Yelton says he and Mike Myers and Kevin Dodd will do almost anything. Yelton says the three of them know each other from church, and decided to work together to help people out. He says everything you see on the show actually happened the exact way it’s presented. Yelton says so far they’ve filmed 6 episodes which air on the CW at 6:30am on Saturdays, and 12:30pm on Sundays. You can also watch the show through their YouTube Channel
25th ranked LSU continues preparations today for its final nonconference game of the year as the Tigers will host Troy on Saturday night. Last week, LSU focused on not committing penalties and they only had three called against in the Syracuse game. Head Coach Ed Orgeron says they look to get more consistent on offense this week.
LSU has announced the game time for the away Florida game on October 7th. The Gators and Tigers will kickoff in The Swamp at 2:30pm central time on CBS.
News for Monday 092517
By Dave Graichen
A hearing is set for today on a motion to change the venue of Norris Greenhouse Jr.’s trial. He and Derrick Stafford, former Marksville City Marshals, are accused in the death of 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis. Stafford was already convicted for attempted manslaughter and manslaughter in Avoyelles Parish. Legal Analyst Tim Meche believes there’s a good chance Greenhouse’s trial will be moved, due to a glut of publicity. Greenhouse is facing charges of attempted second degree murder in the injuring of the father, Christopher Few, and second degree murder for the death of Mardis.
Arizona Senator John McCain has announced he opposes the health care bill that’s co-authored by Louisiana’s senior senator Bill Cassidy. In a statement, McCain says we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats. D-C observers say McCain’s opposition is a significant setback in Cassidy’s efforts to get the legislation passed this month.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore sent an email to local school administrators alerting them police have seen an increase in possession of alcohol and intoxication among high school students at LSU home games. Moore says law enforcement agencies that provide security on LSU game days will increase their presence. The letter comes as the campus is reeling from the death of 18-year-old Max Gruver fraternity pledge.
Meanwhile Governor John Bel Edwards is requesting university officials to review their hazing, drug and alcohol abuse policies, in the wake of the death of 18-year-old Max Gruver at a fraternity. Edwards does not want to see another student die as a result of a possible hazing incident.
The first police report on Gruver’s death was released by LSU-PD and indicates the freshman was found unresponsive at the fraternity house, then later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Southern University announces that the contract for medical marijuana cultivation and production has been awarded to Advanced Biomedics out of Lafayette.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is visiting Germany and the United Kingdom, leading a mission along with 17 tourism partners, to promote Louisiana and the direct flights into New Orleans. Nungesser says so far the international flights have been extremely popular. Nungesser says Germans are required to take 24 days of paid vacation every year, and he wants them to come to Louisiana.
The US Supreme Court is expected today decide today whether to accept a petition
by a New Orleans man who was convicted on a 10-2 vote of murder in 2015.
Louisiana is one of two states where a unanimous decision is not necessary for a
felony. Dale Lambert, who received a mandatory life prison sentence, wants the high
court to hear his challenge of the Louisiana law that allows felony convictions
by a vote of less than 12 jurors.
The Lafayette Police Department says a 25-year-old man allegedly shot and killed his father. The victim is identified as 48-year-old John Adams. The suspect, Damarkus Adams, is under arrest on the charge of Second Degree murder.
A Breaux Bridge Police officer is under arrest for allegedly having sexual interactions with a 16-year-old. 29-year-old Craig David is charged with carnal knowledge of a juvenile, computer aided solicitation of a minor and malfeasance in office.
LSU’s Speech Language Hearing Clinic has a program that allows people with a medical condition like ALS to bank their voice. Speech Language Pathologist Sara Green Mele (me-lee) says individuals with a degenerative disease come to the clinic and record their voice in a sound proof booth using a third party recording software. WAFB news anchor Donna Britt was recently diagnosed with ALS and has banked her voice. The process takes about six to eight hours. Mele says with ALS, even with the loss of voice, a patient’s cognition remains strong.
So does LSU have a quarterback controversy? Starter Danny Etling was 10-of-17 for 188 yards and two touchdowns, but freshman Myles Brennan entered the game in the third and led the Tigers on a touchdown drive, but he also threw an interception. The two quarterbacks did enough good things to help the Tigers beat Syracuse 35-26, as LSU improved to 3-1. Coach Orgeron says it was a good win after losing by 30 points the week before….
The Saints put together one of their better performances in a long time as they defeated NFC South rival Carolina 34-13. Quarterback Drew Brees threw three touchdown passes and the defense forced three turnovers and held a struggling Panthers offense to 288 total yards. Coach Sean Payton says the Black and Gold had a good week of practice and it showed in their performance on Sunday. Carolina came into the game ranked number one in the NFL in total defense.
News for Friday 092217
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy made it official yesterday at his weekly briefing, Fire Department Veteran Larry King is now the city’s new Fire Chief. King said he looks forward to the challenge and that he hopes to take the best from the three chiefs he has worked under in his 29 years with the department. Up next for the city, deciding upon a new Police Chief.
Two Alexandria teens have been arrested and charged in connection with a Wednesday night shooting in the city that claimed the life of an unidentified 19 year old. The APD says the shooting took place around 11 p.m. in the area of Richard Avenue and Duhon Lane. The victim was taken to a local hospital, where he died. The 17-year-old has been identified as Brian Booker-Allen of Alexandria. The other accused is a 16-year-old and his name has been withheld.
A new report just released by the USDA shows Louisiana is the second hungriest state in the nation. “Bread for the World” President David Beckmann says the hunger problem in the state is concentrated among African Americans where about 1 out of 3 families may run out of food before the end of month.
Positive state budget news has been difficult to find lately, but at least one recent financial fact is encouraging. Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana had a 143-million dollar surplus for the fiscal year that ended June 30th. Edwards thinks it’s a sign the state’s economy is improving.
Governor John Bel Edwards and First Lady Donna Edwards are encouraging schools to participate in the school breakfast challenge to help reduce childhood hunger. Donna Edwards says schools that take action and make sure kids eat breakfast can win up to one-thousand dollars in cash and other great prizes. Edwards says research shows one in four children in Louisiana struggles with hunger. The First Lady knows as a former teacher that if children have a healthy start to their day, it will lead to better results in the classroom. Schools can register online at Louisiana-school-breakfast-dot-org.
In response to the death of fraternity pledge Maxwell Gruver, LSU held a Rally Against Hazing Wednesday afternoon on the steps of the Memorial Tower. LSU Student Government wanted to bring together student organizations, as well as individual students, so the campus can begin “honest and progressive conversations about putting an end to hazing.”
An off-duty Slidell Police Lieutenant riding a motorcycle was killed Wednesday night in a traffic accident. State Police Trooper Dustin Dwight gave details. The driver of the vehicle that turned directly into the path of 52-year-old Ray Dupuy received a citation for improper turning.
Sad story out of Livingston Parish, a five-year-old boy was struck and killed by a vehicle after leaving an ice cream truck. Denham Springs Police spokesperson Amber Fairburn says the driver indicated he did not see the child. As of now, no charges have been filed against the driver.
This is Louisiana Craft Brewers Week, designated to commemorate beers brewed right here in the state, and the people who make it possible. Cary Koch (COKE), Executive Director of the Louisiana Craft Brewers Guild, says when this designation was made by the State Legislature in 2013, there were just 7 breweries that took part, and three brewpubs. Koch says Louisiana now has over 30 breweries and brew pubs — and establishments in every corner of the state are opening up their taps and shelves to carry these locally made beers. He says these brewers make it a priority to use as many Louisiana-made products as possible…:
The state department of transportation is hopeful that the major overlay project on I-20 in Webster Parish will wrap around the Thanksgiving weekend, which would be ahead of schedule. DOTD spokesperson Erin Buchanan says the westbound lanes are complete and contractors are working in the eastbound lanes. Buchanan says once the work is complete, motorists will experience a greatly improved travel experience for this section of I-20…
LSU football Coach Ed Orgeron is promising a better performance on Saturday night when his Tigers host Syracuse. The Bayou Bengals suffered their worst loss ever to Mississippi State last week in a 37-7 drubbing. Orgeron says he’s on a mission for his team to play better. LSU is a 22.5 point favorite to beat Syracuse
The Saints look for their first win of the year on Sunday when they visit Carolina. The Panthers are 2-and-0 and they rank number one in the NFL in total defense, allowing less than 200 yards a game. Frustration level among Saints fans is probably the highest it’s been since Head Coach Sean Payton and Drew Brees arrived.
News for Thursday 092117
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office arrests a former inmate accused of stalking a woman who had previously worked at the jail where the suspect was incarcerated. They say 31-year-old Jerome Ferrell of Alexandria allegedly started sending the victim and her family messages when he was released from the Rapides Detention Center and threatened to harm her. Ferrell was arrested on nine counts of Cyberstalking and six counts of stalking.
Governor John Bel Edwards confirmed on his monthly call in radio show that Amazon is set to build a distribution center somewhere in Louisiana, but details are limited at the time. He says either way, it’s great news that the online retail giant is bringing a part of its operation to the state. The state has also said they are very interested in being the home of the second Amazon headquarters which the company said would bring an investment of $5 billion dollars and 50,000 jobs. Edwards says the state is still working with Amazon in order to finalize the site selection…
U.S Senator Bill Cassidy told CNN he is sorry that talk show host Jimmy Kimmel does not understand his health care legislation. Kimmel said on his show Tuesday night that Cassidy lied to his face when it comes to passing a health care bill that protects people with pre-existing conditions and lowers premiums for middle class families. Cassidy says his bill does cover pre-existing conditions and it will lead to more Americans covered by health insurance. However, Insurance experts say pre-existing coverage will be up to the individual states to decide.
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne announces the state ended up with a 100 million dollar surplus from the fiscal year that ended in June. The surplus is the result of higher than anticipated personal income and sales tax collections. But, he cautions the 100 million surplus will not offset the looming fiscal cliff. That is right at $1 billion.
A former East Baton Rouge Parish Parks Commissioner was found shot to death outside of his home in Pride at around 5:45 Tuesday night. East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks says when police arrived they attempted to resuscitate the man, 66-year-old Carroll Breeden, but he died at the scene. She urges anyone who may have seen something to contact the police.
The State Police are investigating an officer involved in a shooting in Bernice. The L-S-P says Tuesday afternoon the Union Parish Sheriff’s office was sent to a home in response to a disturbance and made contact with a male subject. They say at some point during the incident, the suspect was shot and died at the scene.
After a long wait, the car-sharing service, Uber, is finally available in Monroe, West Monroe and areas governed by Ouachita Parish. Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo says his office has spent the last six months working on a contract with Uber and he knows the city is excited it’s finally official. Mayo says he’s also hoping to work out a deal with Lyft as well.
Louisiana Tech University has set an enrollment record for this fall as nearly 13-thousand students are taking classes this fall, which is 17-percent increase since the fall of 2013. Jim King is the Vice President for Student Advancement says the average ACT score of 24.71 for first-time freshmen is also a university record.
New Orleans attorney Scott Sternberg has concerns with parts of LSU’s suspension of Greek activities in the wake of the death of a fraternity pledge. Sternberg says the students’ first amendment rights are being taken away when not allowed to gather in groups of 10 or more to tailgate and he also questions the prohibition of wearing Greek attire. He says a lawsuit may be pending.
A startling statistic, The state department of children and family services says the number of babies born in Louisiana who are exposed to alcohol and drugs in the womb has tripled from 2008 to 2016. Last year, that number reached nearly 17-hundred.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission is hosting job fairs at 25 locations across the state today for young adults. Executive Director Ava Dejoie says Walmart is one of the companies participating and the national retail giant plans to hire 12-hundred workers in Louisiana for the holiday season. Dejoie says this is a great opportunity for those 18 to 24.
LSU Coach Ed Orgeron says star running back Derrius Guice is very questionable for Saturday’s home game against Syracuse. Guice reportedly has a knee injury. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran believes LSU is being cautious with its best offensive player. Moran says this gives senior Darrell Williams a chance to start. There is some positive injury news. Orgeron says starting defensive end Rashard Lawerence should play against the Orange.
News for Wednesday 092017
By Dave Graichen
The RPSO reports a 16 year old student at Peabody Magnet High was arrested yesterday by a School Resource officer after it was discovered he brought a gun to school. School administrators were the ones who alerted the officer to Tuesday's incident. While the investigation continues, the boy was charged with one count of carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon on school property.
The APD reports three suspects accused in a series of attempted vehicle burglaries early Sunday now face more charges after police were able to determine a wallet found with them had been stolen. All three were charged with simple burglary.
Governor John Bel Edwards released an email poll asking if Louisiana residents support raising the minimum wage. ULM Political Science Professor Dr. Joshua Stockley says this survey is more about fundraising, as many of his supporters already want to increase the state’s minimum wage, which is $7.25. Stockley says this message was also sent out to raise awareness that this is a campaign pledge the governor ran on and he continues to support it. He says Edwards is looking for more public support, as this issue is not gaining traction in the legislature.
The Louisiana Association of Educators says a poll of Louisiana parents finds that 65-percent believe the state places too much emphasis on student testing. L-A-E President Debbie Meaux says parents and their children are not excited about filling out bubbles on a test. The L-A-E survey also found 55-percent of respondents believe a student’s test performance should not play a major role in determining a teacher’s effectiveness. Meaux says tomorrow a new 25-member panel will meet to examine whether public school students are over tested.
Multiple reports say an Adolf Hitler speech was found at the home of Kenneth Gleason, who was booked today in Baton Rouge for the murders of two black men. East Baton Rouge DA Hillar Moore says Gleason could face the death penalty for last week’s fatal shootings. Gleason has also been charged for allegedly shooting up the home of a black family.
Senator Bill Cassidy’s bill to issue block grants to states as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act has support from Louisiana’s junior senator. Republican John Kennedy not only wants to vote for the legislation but he plans to propose an amendment to prevent states from accepting block grants to establish a single payer health insurance system. Kennedy says he would prefer to have private insurance companies provide coverage that could help lower healthcare costs.
Governor John Bel Edwards says he can’t support Senator Cassidy’s legislation, because he says it will lead to the elimination of the Medicaid expansion. Edwards says he’s working with Republican and Democratic governors to promote a solution that makes health insurance more stable and affordable.
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services has received a grant to increase the number of child welfare workers. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says her staff has decreased by 600 employees over the last 10 years and this is an opportunity to address the high turnover rate. Nearly half of the child welfare workers who left DCFS in 2016, had less than three years of service. Walters says there is a direct correlation between the case load and the turnover rate.
A Bawcomville man is facing two counts of aggravated assault after chasing two water meter readers with a golf club. The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office says 53-year-old Tommy Bouwell was allegedly intoxicated when yelled at the victims accusing them of coming at him with a weapon, and that’s when he returned with a golf club and started swinging.
After LSU’s 30-point loss to Mississippi State last Saturday, some are wondering if Head Coach Ed Orgeron was the right man to choose for the job.
But Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says one thing to keep in mind is that Athletic Director Joe Alleva’s fate lies with the Board of Supervisors. Worsham says right now it’s a little too early to guess if there will be any changes in leadership with the athletic department, as there has only been one SEC game this season. But he says the hire of Coach O was strictly a call made by Alleva, and if things remain bleak there will be consequences.
The dangers of hazing have become an important conversation in the wake of LSU freshman Max Gruver’s death. Gruver was pledging at Phi Delta Theta and high amounts of alcohol were found in his system. Executive Director of HazingPrevention.org Emily Pualwan says hazing has been around for centuries. She says it’s different than bullying. Pualwan says universities can look back and see a pattern of hazing, but only realize the escalation after something as terrible as a death occurs. LSU has temporarily shut down their entire Greek system after Gruver’s death.
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