News for Thursday 111517
By Dave Graichen
It’s now official. After being named as acting Principal of Holy Savior Menard High School back in August, Veteran school administrator Dwayne Lemoine now has the job on a permanent basis. Lemoine brings 34 years of education experience to the school, including eight years as superintendent of Avoyelles Parish Schools and eight years as principal at Pineville High School.
5th district Congressman Ralph Abraham, the state's only member of the House Armed Services Committee, says the house version of the National Defense Authorization Act is a Homerun for the state. Under the bill, Barksdale's B-52s will get a modern makeover, Fort Polk will be protected from the base closure list and Belle Chasse's F-15 fighters will stand guard over the Gulf Coast. The House approved a conference committee's version of the Act this week and the Senate is expected to quickly follow. The President says he will sign the bill.
Today is the Great American Smoke out, the day tobacco users are encouraged to quit smoking, chewing tobacco or using other tobacco related products. Lance Barbour with the American Cancer Society says Louisiana ranks among the highest in the country for the number of smokers and smoking related illness.
It is one of the most dangerous stretches of roadway in the country and the numbers now back it up. The state Department of Transportation reports there were 2,423 crashes on Interstate 10 between Lafayette and the Baton Rouge Mississippi River Bridge over a three year period, from January 1st of 2014 to the end of 2016. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says of those crashes, 19 were fatal and 20 people died. Wilson says the majority of these wrecks are a result of tailgating or distracted driving. Numbers from DOTD show 55-percent of these accidents happened when a car rear-ended another, 22-percent happened when a car ran off the interstate.
The U.S. House has legislation to overhaul the National Flood Insurance Program, but it does not have the full support of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation. Representative Ralph Abraham from Richland Parish says the measure doesn’t help with rising premiums and he’s concerned. Abraham hopes the Senate passes a better bill.
Republican Senator Bill Cassidy says he’s successfully added an amendment to the Senate’s tax reform legislation that would provide 200-million dollars in tax relief for thousands of Louisiana residents who were impacted by last year’s August flood. The legislation still needs approval from the entire Senate and House.
There is a new North Louisiana Crime Lab operating in Shreveport, serving 29 north Louisiana parishes. Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator says the state of the art 86-thousand-square foot North Louisiana Forensic Sciences Center should help them solve D-N-A cases much faster. The planning started over 12 years ago with construction beginning in 2013 at a cost of 26-million-dollars. Prator says the new lab will also partner with the LSU Medical School in Shreveport.
Governor Edwards and Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain continue their listening tour with farmers today with stops in Ferriday and Slaughter. The tour started earlier this week as the two elected officials held meetings in Mooringsport and Bastrop to hear about concerns within the agriculture industry. Edwards says producers are worried that state budget cuts are impacting agriculture research at LSU and Southern. Edwards says soybean farmers are also pushing for funding so the Red River can be dredged in northwest Louisiana to help with shipping costs. The tour will end tomorrow with stops in Ville Platte and Arnaudville
65-year-old Wilbert Jones became a free man today after serving over 45 years in jail in connection with a 1971 rape and kidnapping of a Baton Rouge nurse. State District Judge Richard Anderson threw his conviction out, because he determined the case against Jones was weak and the prosecution withheld evidence. The Innocence Project worked for 15 years to free Jones.
The busy holiday travel season starts next week and the Transportation Security Administration is asking passengers to make sure they don’t pack guns in their carry-on travel bags. T-S-A spokesperson Sari Koshetz says so far this year, six guns have been confiscated at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport and 52 from Louis Armstrong in New Orleans.
State officials are gradually introducing 23 juvenile whooping cranes from Wisconsin, Maryland and Canada to the wild in Louisiana as part of the state’s effort to grow the population of the rare, endangered birds. State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist Sara Zimorski says 12 of the birds were brought to Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge on the southwest Louisiana coast where three cranes recently hatched…
The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine says Mike Seven, the school’s live mascot that arrived on campus in August, has added 100 pounds of weight during his first three months in Baton Rouge. The 14-month old Tiger now weighs about 270 pounds and the Bengal-Siberian mix is expected to keep growing until he’s about four or five years old.
News for Wednesday 111517
By Dave Graichen
With the announcement of DXC Technology opening a digital transformation center, over two-thousand direct jobs will be created in New Orleans over the next seven to eight years. Demographer Greg Rigamer says Louisiana provided $120 million in incentives to attract the company’s attention.
A man who spent nearly a half century in jail will be freed after his conviction is over turned. 65-year-old Wilbert Jones is expected to be released today. State District Court Judge Richard Anderson threw out his conviction after it was discovered authorities withheld “highly favorable” evidence that would have exonerated Jones in connection with a 1971 rape.
A Grambling State student that was arrested last month after a double homicide has been indicted on two counts for first degree murder. 19-year-old Jaylin Wayne allegedly fatally shot 23-year-old Earl Andrews, a senior at Grambling, and 23-year-old Monquairious Caldwell. The Lincoln Parish DA says they may seek the death penalty pending the final police report.
Gas prices keep inching up along with demand. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular is $2.31, according to AAA.
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness will lead a full scale nuclear disaster prevention drill called Operation Great River in which a dozen federal, state and local authorities will participate. The exercise will happen today along the Mississippi River near the Port of Baton Rouge. GOHSEP Spokesperson Mike Steele says it’s a first of a kind drill in Louisiana.
Have you ever thought Louisiana as a golf destination? Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser wants to make it so. He is helping to reenergize the Audubon Golf Trail. 15 courses statewide are included. He says this will be a valuable tool to gets visitors to vacation here and see what other attractions Louisiana has to offer.
The newest numbers from the Cost of Living Index for the third quarter of this year rank Monroe and Shreveport in the top for the most affordable cities to live in the Bayou State. President of North Louisiana Economic Partnership Scott Martinez says the consumer’s dollar goes farther in these markets.
State Police are investigating an officer involved shooting in which they say a Baton Rouge cop shot and killed a man during a struggle when escorting a state child welfare case worker. Senior Trooper Bryan Lee says, despite rumors circling social media, the man who was killed was not handcuffed when he was shot.
A Baton Rouge attorney has been arrested for the second time in as many months on child pornography charges. 36-year-old Victor Loraso of Covington is charged with 20 different counts involving possession and distribution sexual abuse images or videos of minors. He was booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail. He was released last month on a 150-thousand-dollar bond.
The LaFourche Parish Council is issuing a proclamation marking the 130th anniversary of the Thibodaux Massacre. The incident occurred on November 23, 1887. It was one of the bloodiest incidents of violence in American history. White mobs shot black men and women after a strike was called by sugar cane workers in Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes. Next Thursday, there will be a moment of silence in Thibodaux to mark the anniversary of the slaughter.
News for Friday 111717
By Dave Graichen
Pineville PD yesterday captured the third suspect in the attempted robbery of a Wardville convenience store on November 5th. 23-year-old Devon Thomas was found in Wardville on Thursday by officers who were conducting an unrelated investigation. Thomas, who had been described as possibly armed and dangerous, was taken into custody without incident.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler is expecting a voter turnout of 13 percent statewide for Saturday’s election which features the race for state treasurer and the New Orleans mayoral runoff between LaToya Cantrell and Denise Charbonnet. Schedler says if it wasn’t for this race, it would be a slow day at the polls.
The election for the New Orleans mayoral race is tomorrow and polls show Democratic councilwoman LaToya Cantrell beating fellow Democrat and former judge Desiree Charbonnet by a landslide. Political Analyst Clancy Dubos says this will be the first time a female has been mayor of New Orleans and this big race with two Democratic candidates is likely to help out Democrat Derrick Edwards’ campaign for State Treasurer against Republican John Schroder.
The U.S. House approved a tax reform bill, which Republicans say will lower tax rates at all income levels and lower the corporate tax rate. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise says this legislation will also make it easier for everyday Americans to do their own taxes. The Senate still must vote on its own version of a tax reform plan and if that passes then it must be settled in a conference committee.
Natchitoches unveiled its newly renovated riverfront yesterday. Mayor Lee Posey says they’ve added a new festival stage, amphitheater seating and a new Santa Claus house. He says restrooms and handicap ramps have also been added along the Cane River. Saturday the Festival of Lights begins its run over the next seven weekends.
Tickets are on sale now for WrestleMania 34, which takes place April 18th at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The last time WWE’s flagship show came to The Big Easy was in 2014, bringing in over 75,000 fans and generating $142 million dollars in economic impact. This is the quickest that WrestleMania has ever returned to a previous host city ever.
The Louisiana National Guard says over 300 of their soldiers and airmen have returned from a deployment to Puerto Rico to help the island nation recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The Guard says the soldiers cleared roads and helped electric companies restore power.
It took less than a month, but Layoffs have been announced by CenturyLink after their acquisition of Level 3 Communications. 35 workers in Monroe and 165 companywide are being let go. Spokesperson Annmarie Sartor says the layoffs come in the IT department. She says 27-hundred still work in Louisiana for CenturyLink.
Nicholls State has named Jay Clune as the university’s 6th president. Clune is currently the interim graduate dean for the University of West Florida. The Houma native is a Nicholls graduate and he will take over after the first of 2018. Clune says he wants students coming to Nicholls to learn in a modern environment…
The state is launching a Louisiana Cultural Shopping Trail to provide visitors an opportunity to discover unique retail stores as they travel through the Bayou State. Chairman of the Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Commission Steve Windham says L-A-shopping-trail-dot-com will highlight great antique or boutique shops, along with stores that feature hand-crafted goods. Windham says the Louisiana Cultural Shopping Trail gives specialized businesses off the beaten path a chance to showcase the state’s vibrant culture to visitors who are traveling our highways
Baton Rouge Police have made an arrest in the 2014 killing of West St. John High School coach Juan Joseph. Sgt. Don Coppola says they originally booked another man for the murder, but those charges were later dropped after the DA’s office said the shooter was misidentified. Coppola says now Jamarcus Goodman is charged with second degree murder. Copolla says Goodman was living in Texas and had faced other charges there, but is now in the East Baton Rouge Parish jail.
A grand jury Thursday issued a first degree murder indictment of Darren Bridges who is charged with murdering New Orleans Police Officer Marcus McNeil on October 13. It’s being reported that District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro says his office is pursuing the death penalty for Bridges.
The steady increase in gas prices is continuing. AAA says there is still strong fall demand for gasoline and it’s chipping away at inventory. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular is now $2.34, up almost 10 cents over the past month.
The forecast calls for rain and temperatures falling into the 50s on Saturday in Knoxville for the LSU-Tennessee game. But the Tigers should have success running the football as the Volunteers rank last in the SEC in rushing defense.
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.
News for Tuesday 091917
By Dave Graichen
Four sheriff’s offices in Louisiana have filed lawsuits against drug companies and physicians for allegedly helping to grow the opioid crisis. Attorney David Laborde says the defendants have misrepresented the proper use of opioids which has led to an epidemic and an uptick in crime. Avoyelles, Lafayette, Jefferson Davis and Rapides have filed lawsuits in state courts in their respective parishes. Laborde says the sheriff’s offices are seeking to recoup the money law enforcement has spent on dealing with the opioid epidemic.
The Louisiana Democratic Party opposes U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy’s and three other Republican lawmakers bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Party Spokesperson D’Seante Parks says this legislation would end the Medicaid expansion, which covers more than 430-thousand Louisiana residents. Senator Cassidy’s proposed legislation would give block grant funding to each state if it passes. However, the money would not be dedicated as it is now.
According to the U.S. Census data Louisiana’s uninsured rate is 10.3 percent. These were the numbers of uninsured Louisiana residents in 2016. That’s a small decline from 11.9 percent in 2012. The trend comes after Louisiana’s Medicaid program was expanded by Governor John Bel Edwards to offer government-financed health insurance to over 430 thousand low-income adults.
The LSU AgCenter has finalized its contract with GB Sciences which will grow medical marijuana for Louisiana patients who have specific conditions. The marijuana-based medication made by the company is required to be put in oil based medical products. GB Sciences Louisiana will renovate the production facility and availability to patients is expected by mid-2018.
Pennington Biomedical Research Center has been awarded a 6.7 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to study military nutrition and metabolism research. Researcher Dr. Jennifer Rood (Rude) says they will focus on how to ensure a healthy and fit military. Rood says this research could change the eating habits of soldiers.
A Baton Rouge man considered a person of interest in the shooting deaths of two black men last week, has bonded out of jail. 23-year-old Kenneth Gleason was arrested over the weekend on drug charges. Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Don Coppola says Gleason has yet to be cleared of the homicides. He says it’s a possibility that these murders were racially motivated.
The national Phi Delta Theta organization has removed the charter from the Beta Chapter at LSU, where a pledge recently died in a possible hazing incident. The organization said it suspended operations based on information in the investigation of the death of 18-year-old Max Gruver which found some chapter members were in violation of the alcohol-free housing policy. No charges have been filed and East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore says that could take a while.
An explosion in a home injured three people Monday including 92 year old Dwena Henry, an alderman for the village of Stanley in DeSoto parish and her daughter Sharon Fletcher who is the mayor. Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle says William Roe, a friend of the family was also injured. Arbuckle says Henry suffered third-degree burns to over 50-percent of her body and is fighting for her life. Reportedly, Henry was cooking when Roe and Fletcher smelled gas.
The White House held a summit with presidents of black colleges today but Grambling State President Rick Gallot was not there. Gallot says that he was not boycotting, but there’s a lot happening on the Grambling campus between the start of the a new semester and football season.
News for Monday 091817
By Dave Graichen
The median household income in Louisiana declined by over 2-percent in 2016, the largest decrease in the nation according to Census Figures. Dr. LSU Economist Loren Scott says this decrease is a result of the struggling oil and gas industry. He says we have three metropolitan areas that are in a recession, Houma, Lafayette and Shreveport. Louisiana looks to be improving as we gained 24,200 nonfarm jobs since August of last year.
Louisiana’s unemployment rate has now declined for four consecutive months according to data released by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. At 5.2%, the current rate is the lowest it’s been since August of 2008. That figure is also 0.9 percentage points lower from a year ago.
Gas prices have started to decline. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular in Louisiana is $2.39.
Attorney General Jeff Landry is alerting consumers to be on the lookout when buying vehicles, as nearly one million vehicles were flooded in Texas and Florida during recent hurricanes. Landry says these flood-damaged vehicles could end up on the streets and sold to unsuspecting car buyers. He advises consumers to obtain a vehicle history report. Landry says if you suspect someone is knowingly selling a flood damaged vehicle, contact your local authorities or call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection.
East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. Beau Clark has released preliminary autopsy findings on the body of the 18-year-old LSU student who died in what the university had called a possible hazing incident at his fraternity. Clark says they did not find any internal or external signs of trauma on Maxwell Gruver. Clark says Gruver was driven to the hospital in a private vehicle from the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house and was later pronounced dead. His office will provide a comprehensive toxicology test which takes as long as four weeks to complete.
The state lawmaker who admitted to taking money from his campaign fund to fuel a gambling addiction will have to pay a $37,000 fine to the state treasury under an agreement reached Friday. The Louisiana Board of Ethics also said that Representative Dee Richard will no longer be allowed to draw from his war chest. Richard had said his compulsive gambling was a side effect of medication he was taking for Parkinson’s disease.
Today, Governor John Bel Edwards and DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson are in Washington D.C. to meet with the US Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the long-delayed Comite River Diversion Canal, a flood control project for the Baton Rouge area. Wilson says the state has committed a significant amount of resources for this project, and it’s time for the Corps to do their part.
The principal wanted by Baton Rouge police after allegedly locking a 5-year-old in a closet has turned himself in to authorities. Authorities say 31-year-old Shafeeq Deen has been charged with cruelty to a juvenile and false imprisonment. Other students at Laurel Oaks Charter School are coming forward now claiming Deen punished them in similar ways.
And here’s a bizarre story out of Terrebonne Parish. Houma Police arrested a man and woman who were allegedly caught having sex in a library. Authorities say 33-year-old Elizabeth Jernigan and 35-year-old Rex Jernigan also recorded themselves and uploaded the video to a porn site. Through their investigation, it was determined the couple recorded themselves doing similar activities at other businesses.
Authorities say a prison guard at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola fatally shot an inmate after first firing a warning shot. The state department of Corrections says 35-year-old Brandon Lizotte was among a group of prisoners being escorted to work when he aggressively ran towards a correctional officer. The officer fired his service weapon striking Lizotte. Lizotte was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder in Tangipahoa Parish in 2006.
“Tell the truth Monday” will not be kind for the LSU Tigers after they were embarrassed 37-7 by Mississippi State. The Tigers were beat at the line of scrimmage, the defense had blown assignments and LSU also committed 9 penalties for 112 yards. LSU is back in Tiger Stadium on Saturday night as they host Syracuse.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Saints have started 0-2 as they dropped a 36-20 decision to the New England Patriots. Quarterback Tom Brady scorched the New Orleans defense for 447 yards and three touchdowns. On offense, the Saints converted just 33% of their third down opportunities. The Saints have now lost 11 of their last 12 games in the month of September. They travel to Carolina this Sunday.
Louisiana Tech rallied back from a 22-13 4th quarter deficit to beat conference rival Western Kentucky 23-22. Jonathan Barnes 22-yard field goal with two seconds left gave the Bulldogs an important win as they look to win the Conference USA western division.
News for Friday 091517
By Dave Graichen
42 year old Kenneth Seth Thomas of Deville, a police officer with the Alexandria Police Department, was arrested yesterday and charged with malfeasance in office, distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, and possession of a firearm in the presence of the drugs. An investigation led by the State Police and the APD revealed Thomas had engaged in illegal activities by having sex with at least one woman, while on-duty, and distributing illegal drugs. He was arrested and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center. The investigation remains active and ongoing.
State police report Two men died Thursday morning after a head-on collision between a car and an 18 wheeler truck on Louisiana highway 124 near the Winn and LaSalle Parish line. The fatal crash took the lives of 22 year old Logan Franklin from Olla and 26 year old David Lincecum of Grayson. It’s reported both victims were not wearing a seat belt.
The US attorney’s office reports a Georgetown woman will spend two years in prison for counterfeiting $20 bills in Alexandria last year. 20 year old Gena Marie Armstrong was sentenced on Wednesday.
An 18-year-old LSU freshman from Georgia has died in what university officials are calling a possible hazing incident at Phi Delta Fraternity House. LSU System President F King Alexander says the death of Maxwell Gruver is tragic and untimely
Gruver was pronounced dead at a local hospital and Alexander says it is believed alcohol is involved. Phi Delta has been suspended by the school and national organization.
St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith says Fire Chief Steve Krentel has been cleared in the murder of his wife Nanette, who was found in burned home with a gunshot wound to the head in July. Smith says Steve Krentel was their initial primary person of interest. Sheriff Smith says they worked this case as a homicide since day one and will continue to do so.
After a both a regular and special legislative session earlier this year, the state still faces a fiscal cliff in July of next year. That’s when a billion dollars in temporary sales taxes expire. Yesterday House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says get ready to hear scare tactics coming from the governor’s office. In a video posted to his Facebook page, the Republican from Metairie says he expects Governor Edwards to start threatening cuts to important programs like TOPS. The governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Richard Carbo, says Henry is intent on continuing partisan gridlock in the House.
Starting with tonight’s games, several Louisiana high schools are taking in part in “Touchdowns Against Cancer,” an initiative which directly benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The campaign lets their fans pledge a donation for every touchdown scored. The effort is in support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and runs through the end of the month.
An arrest has been made in the murder of a St. Martin Parish woman who was eight months pregnant. Major Ginny Higgins says authorities arrested 32-year-old Toni Trimble Thomas and she is charged with one count of first degree murder and one count of first degree feticide. The suspect’s brother was the boyfriend of the victim, 24-year-old Ashley Nicole Meche.
Louisiana Community and Technical College System president Monty Sullivan would like the state to have a scholarship program that would benefit adults who want to attend one of their two-year campuses. Sullivan calls it a wise investment and can help a mother of two who makes eight dollars an hour receive the training that can lead to an 18-dollar an hour job.
Neville High School in Monroe has been named the most beautiful public high school in Louisiana by Architectural Digest. Dana Jefferson, Executive Director of the school’s Alumni Association, says the school has undergone many renovations to preserve the 86-year-old building. Jefferson says Neville is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and that’s something the students and staff are really proud of.
Louisiana Tech jumps into league play tomorrow by facing the defending Conference USA champion Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. W-K-U is led by senior quarterback Mike White, who is considered one of the top quarterbacks in the country. These two teams met twice last year. Tech won at home 55-52 and then lost in the Conference USA title game. It’s the eighth meeting between the two teams and Tech leads the all-time series four to three. You can hear the game beginning at 4:30 on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3.
LSU gets its first test in the SEC tomorrow night when they visit Mississippi State. The voice of the Tigers, Chris Blair, believes this game will be won in the trenches. LSU had success throwing the football down field last week and Blair anticipates the Tigers opening up the playbook even more tomorrow. Hear the game beginning at 4p on 970 KSYL & 96.9 KZMZ.
News for Thursday 091417
By Dave Graichen
Although it doesn’t resolve the issue, a decision by the Rapides Parish police jury to allocate $200,000 to move prisoners from DC1 to other facilities will take the pressure off for now. The Sheriff's Office is under a mandate from the State Fire Marshall's Office to reduce the population of facility to its capacity of 348. Even though the number of prisoners in the DC1 is down from a high of 395 on Monday, the number is still above the max capacity. Sheriff Hilton sent a letter to the Fire Marshall's Office Wednesday detailing plans to reduce the population. He also asked for a temporary increase to the jail's capacity.
Many people in Alexandria are upset over higher than usual electric bills. The City yesterday announced it has been lengthening its billing cycle for residents charged for utilities from about 28 to 40 days. Why? The city says it is short staffed, with 6 of it’s 9 meter reading positions open. According to a press release, contracted workers are expected to be hired soon until the meter reader vacancies are filled.
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy is a co-author of the last ditch effort by Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Cassidy says the legislation repeals individual and employer mandates, and it gets rid of the medical device tax. The Republican says their proposal also eliminates the inequity in which three states receive 37-percent of Obamacare funds. He says this proposal gives the power back to patients.
House Speaker Taylor Barras has told the Associated Press he believes the House can come up with a plan by January to address the loss of one-billion dollars in tax revenue that expires next summer. Barras says if there’s enough agreement, a special session could be held early next year. There’s been a stalemate between the House and the governor on how to address the fiscal cliff.
Higher Education Commissioner Joe Rallo says the first LaSTEM Advisory Council meeting was successful in discussing how to increase the amount of students who will succeed in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Rallo says right now, if we don’t engage, Louisiana will not catch up with neighboring states when it comes to STEM jobs. He says the council agrees STEM education needs to be a pipeline, starting in Kindergarten and continuing through high school.
One month from today is the general election for State Treasurer. Three Republican candidates are raising money. There’s also a Democrat and Libertarian on the ballot. Publisher of La-politics-dot-com, Jeremy Alford, says Columbia Senator Neil Riser has been the most active in tv advertising. Ex state legislator John Schroder and former Commissioner of Administration Angelle Davis are the other Republicans fundraising. But Alford says none of the candidates have enough money to run TV commercials statewide, which will lead to a low voter turnout on October 14th
The Oil and Gas Industry is helping with recovery efforts in Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. President of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association Chris John says when Harvey hit, it knocked out about 12-percent of the refining capacity for this nation. John says they are making progress with getting Texas refineries back on line. He says Louisiana has tried to produce as much product as possible while Texas plants are recovering.
Authorities made an arrest in the homicide investigation of Ashely Nicole Meche. The St. Martin Parish Sheriff department arrested Toni Trimble Thomas of Breaux Bridge. Trimble Thomas is the sister of the victim’s boyfriend. The 24 year old Meche was eight months pregnant at the time she was killed so Trimble Thomas is charged with second degree murder and second degree feticide. It was determined that her boyfriend, Mark Trimble was not present or involved in the homicide.
Louisiana remains one of the most business-friendly states in the nation, ranking No. 5 in Area Development magazine’s annual Top States for Doing Business survey. This is the second year in a row the publication has ranked Louisiana No. 5.
The St. Tammany Parish Coroner has ruled the death of s fire chief’s wife in July, as a homicide. The body of Nanette Krentel, wife of Fire District 12 Chief Stephen Krentel, was discovered in the rubble of the couple’s home which had burned to the ground on July 7th. Coroner Charles Preston said it was determined from the start Mrs. Krentel died from a gunshot wound. But the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office said in a media advisory that it does not necessarily support the coroner’s conclusion. The sheriff will provide an update on the investigation during a news conference today.
Authorities say they arrested the man shown in a video punching out a student on the LSU Parade Grounds before last Saturday’s football game. He’s been identified as 18 year old Casen Maggio of Prairieville and he been charged with aggravated battery. The official report says several bones in the student’s face were broken.
A homeowner shot and killed an alleged intruder in LaPlace Tuesday night. St. John the Baptist Parish authorities say the homeowner told detectives he heard voices in his yard and went to investigate. When he opened the back door, he was face-to-face with the intruder. No charges have been filed against the homeowner. The whole episode was captured on the home’s video surveillance camera.
The Shreveport City Council has rejected the mayor’s proposal to build a sports complex in the downtown area. The vote was unanimous. Councilman Oliver Jenkins says 30 million of the city’s dollars would be used along with 139 million in private finances. He says they would like to present this project to the public in a different light, because many didn’t know it could bring in a minor league basketball team.
Two weeks into the season and the Ragin Cajuns defense ranks as the third worst out of the 129 F-B-S teams. UL Lafayette has allowed nearly 12-hundred yards. But Head Coach Mark Hudspeth says there’s a great desire to turn things around. The Cajuns gave up 66 points in a loss to Tulsa last week.
News for Wednesday 091317
By Dave Graichen
Pineville PD report rumors of a student making threats to shoot up Pineville High School were unfounded. The student accused of making the threat as well as potential witnesses were interviewed late Monday by Pineville Police, which traced the issue back to social media where rumors of an alleged threat began circulating after school hours.
A 29-member panel meets today in Baton Rouge to discuss ways to get more students interested and improve achievement in the areas of science technology, engineering and math also known as STEM. Slidell Senator Sharon Hewitt is behind this effort to grow STEM programs in schools. Hewitt says major employers, like Amazon who is looking to build a second headquarters, are seeking workers who could perform STEM related jobs.
The Edwards Administration gives the private operator of two state owned north Louisiana hospitals, BRF,45 days to correct alleged violations of a contract. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says the state spoke with Ochsner Health System, which could help BRF run the hospitals. BRF says they anticipate resolving the contract disagreement without being ousted and they’ll use legal action if removed as operator of University Health in Shreveport and University Health Conway in Monroe.
Hundreds of cancer patients and survivors were in Washington D.C. Tuesday to urge Congress to help with the fight against cancer. Louisiana resident Amber Stevens says they are urging lawmakers to support palliative care and hospice education training. She’d like to see funding for cancer research reach 36 billion dollars, a two billion dollar increase over current spending.
Recovery continues in Calcasieu Parish after Tropical Storm Harvey left major flood damage in some areas. OEP Director Dick Gremillion says in the days before the storm made landfall in Calcasieu, a torrential downpour left nearly 500 houses with some water inside. He says flooding also occurred when the Sabine River came out of its banks. Gremillion says they are still waiting to find out if Calcasieu flood victims will be available for federal assistance.
Attorney General Jeff Landry says Louisiana will receive nearly seven million dollars as part of a multi-state settlement with Mylan, which manufacturers EpiPens. Landry says Mylan knowingly overcharged taxpayers for Epipens dispensed to Medicaid beneficiaries.
A new study finds that Louisiana’s lawsuit climate is the worst in the nation, and also showed this ranking is not good when it comes to attracting new businesses. Harold Kim is the executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. He says the survey found that 85% of company attorneys said a state’s lawsuit climate is likely to impact decision making. Kim says the areas Louisiana ranked poorly were the in the competence and impartiality of its judges, the fairness of its juries and quality of appellate review.
Northwestern State University’s fall enrollment has reached its highest ever in the school’s 133-year history, with 10,572 students. NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio says this is one of the most meaningful milestones in the school’s long history. He credits this achievement to the university’s academics. Also,A number of renovations to dormitories on the main campus have made NSU more appealing to students.
LSU Head Football Coach Ed Orgeron has signed an advertising deal with Baton Rouge-based Raising Cane’s. Orgeron will be featured in commercials, billboards and in-restaurant signage for the fast food restaurant that specializes in chicken fingers. Former LSU Head Coach Les Miles had a similar agreement with Cane’s for eight years.
Louisiana lawmakers are working to free a Shreveport man from a Guatemalan jail after he was arrested in March for bringing hunting ammunition in his luggage. U.S. Representative Mike Johnson and U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy met with the country’s ambassador to discuss the case of Zachary Wilson. Johnson says Wilson suffers from ulcerative colitis. Wilson’s family says it is extremely difficult to ship his medication to Guatemala and he is running out of his prescription. Johnson says they understand Guatemala is a sovereign nation and respect the rule of law but the charges brought against Wilson are not justified.
The Saints spent Tuesday breaking down the tape of Monday night’s 29-19 loss to Minnesota. Head Coach Sean Payton says it was not a fun exercise, because of how poorly the team played. This was the 5th time in 6 years the Saints started off the season with a loss.
A few of LSU’s young wide receivers had a chance to shine in last Saturday’s victory over Chattanooga. Stephen (STEF-ON) Sullivan and JaCoby Stevens each caught their first passes on the college level and Drake Davis was wide open when he caught his first TD Pass. However, after two games, LSU is the most penalized team in the SEC, with 21.
News for Tuesday 091217
By Dave Graichen
The maximum capacity of the Rapides Parish jail is 348. But Friday of last week it was determined the population of the jail was well above that figure. The State Fire Marshall’s office gave the sheriff department until 4pm yesterday to resolve the issue. There were meetings between Sheriff Hilton and the Police Jury, the DA and several judges. But at the end of the day, the jail population was still at 395. According to Sheriff Hilton the department now has seven days to get to or below 348 inmates, or it will be assessed a fine of $500 a day
35 year old Mark Thomas, who was indicted as part of the Triple M Murder Team again tried on Monday to remove his attorney, but was denied for the second time. Thomas now faces a Nov. 6 trial on first-degree murder, armed robbery with a firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon and racketeering charges. He was one of 14 members or associates of the Alexandria-based gang indicted after an investigation that lasted more than two years and involved federal, state and local agencies.
The statistical peak of hurricane season is behind us, and State Climatologist Barry Keim says it’s likely we will exceed earlier predictions. But he says right now, it looks as if things are calming down compared to last week. He says there have already been 11 named storms so far in 2017, and if we doubled that it would rank among the second busiest in history.
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is deploying employees and coordinating assistance from other state agencies for Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey response and recovery efforts. GOHSEP spokesman Mike Steele says there is a wide range of needs right now in Florida and Georgia, and ongoing cleanup in Texas, and the state is happy to help. Steele says the state-to-state system was developed after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. He says Louisiana has a lot of experience in what to do after a storm hits.
Kaplan Police Chief Boyd Adams has been arrested on charges of theft and malfeasance in office after an investigation by the Legislative Auditor’s Office. The audit showed the Kaplan Police Recreation Account had not been included in the financial statements for the town, which means it was never audited and that there were no records to support the expenditure of over 19-thousand dollars. The State Police allege Adams used nearly $7000 in funds for himself.
After 9/11 , former Governor Mike Foster started a campaign for Louisianans to raise money to donate new firetrucks to the New York City Fire Department. Enough money was donated to build four firetrucks at the Ferrera Fire Apparatus facility in Livingston Parish. Former owner, Chris Ferrera says 1.2 million dollars was raised and all of the trucks are still in use 16 years later. Ferrera says it’s so amazing that the people of the Bayou State came together and, her says, the legacy continues.
A popular bar for LSU students to attend is apologizing after pictures surfaced on social media that showed a noose hanging from the ceiling and cups with a Blue Confederate flag on them were handed out to patrons. Reggie’s Bar issued a statement that says they apologize to anyone offended.
Thibodaux Police have arrested a man who they found passed out behind the wheel in the drive-through of a restaurant. They say 37-year-old John Sewell Jr allegedly tried to drive off when cops woke him up, but his key had already been removed by officers. The man apparently told detectives he was tired and high. He was booked for Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
The Saints started out the season on a sour note last night with one in the second column. They were whooped by the Vikings 29 - 19
News for Monday 091117
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office is under orders to reduce the parish jail's occupancy by 33 inmates before 4 this afternoon. The jail was found early Friday to have been over occupancy limits for seven days straight, at which point it is violating State Fire Marshal code.
Louisiana utility crews are heading to Georgia to help with any potential power outages from Hurricane Irma. Cleco spokesperson Jennifer Cahill says crews are meeting at the St. Tammany Service Center Today to make the trip to Macon, Georgia. Cahill says Cleco also assisted Georgia Power following Hurricane Matthew.
75 Soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard’s 165th Combat Sustainment and Support Battalion are set to deploy to Afghanistan. Bossier Parish Community College gymnasium will hold a deployment ceremony today for family and friends to bid farewell. Col. Ed Bush says these troops will be overseas for about a year.
Congress approves a measure to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program for the next 90 days, as federal lawmakers work on a long-term solution for the program. US Senator John Kennedy says while this was not his first choice, he’s glad congressional leaders didn’t let the clock run out on the program that expires September 30. Kennedy filed a bill to reauthorize the program for the long term that he says has bipartisan support.
Amazon seeks a location for new corporate headquarters, as the online mega retailer plans to open a second corporate location. State Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says Louisiana has a lot of strengths to offer should we throw our hat in the ring, and its likely we will. Amazon is reportedly looking for a metropolitan area with more than a million people near an international airport with access to mass transit. New Orleans could be a perfect fit. Pierson says the number one rated LED Fast Start program can also offer skilled employees. Pierson has said a prime location could be between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Amazon’s second headquarters will employ 50-thousand workers.
New Orleans plans to make a bid to host World Cup soccer games if North America is named as a host site for one of the biggest sporting events in the world in 2026. President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, Jay Cicero, says the Big Easy has so much to offer to international sports fans. US Soccer plans to announce in the fall a list of potential 25 host cities.
The state department of transportation says there’s been an alarming increase in accidents on I-10 from Lafayette to the Atchafalaya Basin, where two rehabilitation and widening projects are ongoing. DOTD spokesperson Deidra Druilhet says motorists need to slow down. Durilhet says they’re also putting a solid line through the construction zone to deter lane changes.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is asking the public to limit the transportation of Roseau cane, as the species is rapidly dying off. The plant helps to protect the Mississippi River delta and the coastal region. LDWF Biologist Manager Vaughn McDonald says the Roseau cane scale, which is a bug, is killing off the beneficial plant life.
The LSU football team is 2-0, but the Tigers still have a lot to work on as they head into this Saturday’s SEC opener versus Mississippi State in Starkville. While kicking field goals have been a problem, quarterback Danny Etling has looked sharp. Through two games, he’s completed 71-percent of his passes for nearly 400 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. Coach O says Etling looks like a different player this season.
An intriguing matchup to start the season for the Saints as they visit the Minnesota Vikings to kick-off the 2017 campaign. New Orleans led the NFL in total offense last year, while the Vikings had the league’s third-ranked defense, and return most of their starters from 2016. Saints Quarterback Drew Brees says it’s a tough match-up to start the season. Hear the game this evening on 96.9 KZMZ.
News for Friday 090817
By Dave Graichen
The APD has arrested a suspect in a shooting death that took place over the weekend. 19 year old Braylon Dozier of Alexandria was charged with first degree murder and armed robbery with a firearm for an incident on Beatrice Street Sunday night that left a man dead. Dozier was also charged with two additional counts of armed robbery with a firearm for two other incidents. The victim in the Sunday night shooting has been id as Steven Allen. Family members say he was making a pizza delivery at the time he was shot.
Louisiana has been pretty lucky this hurricane season, even after two tropical storms made landfall in the Bayou State. State climatologist Barry Keim says fortunately neither Cindy nor Harvey did much damage in Louisiana. But Keim says we aren’t out of the woods yet, as three storms are currently churning in the Atlantic. The peak of hurricane season is this Sunday.
In the coming weeks and months, Harvey victims will need help navigating the red tape to getting federal aid, and Louisianans are coming to the rescue. CSRA was enlisted by the feds to establish a call center for helping disaster victims. Spokesperson Mimi Hedgcock says 500 of those call agents will be based in Bossier City. A $95 million grant will fund the temporary call center which will open early next week after the new agents receive the proper training.
The Governor’s Office is holding a statewide blood drive today amid a supply shortage following Hurricane Harvey. Tina Martinez with LifeShare Blood Centers says because of the hurricane’s destruction, many communities have not been able to donate blood to support the medical needs of local patients. Blood drive locations have been set up in all the major Louisiana cities, and donors can also go by any LifeShare location to donate.
Both of Louisiana’s US Senators voted to appropriate 15-billion dollars in disaster aid for victims of Harvey, which nearly doubles what President Donald Trump requested .
The vote was 80-17 in the Senate and now heads to the House for their approval.
High school students in Louisiana did not perform as well on the ACT compared to students in other states. The national average composite score was 21, while Louisiana averaged a 19.5. The Bayou State reportedly ranks 43rd in the country for ACT test scores.
A recent report finds LSU graduates have higher early- and mid-career earnings than graduates of other Louisiana universities. President F. King Alexander notes many of the universities below LSU on the list charge higher tuition and their students have more student debt. LSU grads have early career earnings of more than $52,000 and mid-career earnings of over $100,000.
Governor John Bel Edwards held another roundtable meeting yesterday, this time with business leaders and local officials in the Houma area to gather input on how the state can stabilize the budget for the long-term. Louisiana is facing a looming fiscal cliff, as a over a billion dollars in temporary taxes expire July 1st. Edwards says his meetings with stakeholders have been extremely productive.
Entergy is teaming up with Cleco to build a new transmission line in southeast Louisiana that can withstand winds up to 150 miles per hour. Cleco spokesperson Jennifer Cahill says this is an important project because customers want their power restored immediately after a storm. The project should be complete by fall of next year.
Louisiana Tech is gearing up for a big home game this Saturday as the Bulldogs will host Mississippi State from the SEC. The last time these two teams met in Ruston, Tech defeated State 22-14 in 2008. Coach Skip Holtz says hosting an SEC team is a great opportunity for their football team. You’ll be able to hear that game Saturday afternoon starting at 5 on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3
12th ranked LSU is coming off a dominating performance over BYU and will host Chattanooga Saturday evening at 6:30 in the home opener for the Tigers. You can hear that game on 970 KSYL and 96.9 KZMZ
News for Thursday 090717
By Dave Graichen
Major refineries in Texas are starting to come back online, and gas prices across the nation are finally starting to level off. Patrick Dehaan, Senior Petroleum Analyst with GasBuddy.com, says Louisiana saw a 16 cent increase over the last week. Today’s statewide average is $2.39.
A task force examining all aspects of the TOPS scholarship met for the first time Wednesday at the state capitol. Senate Education Chairman Blade Morrish says the purpose of today’s meeting was to get a general overview of the taxpayer funded scholarship program. The task force will issue a report in February.
Governor John Bel Edwards is urging Congress to clear a road block that has touched thousands of homeowners who flooded in Louisiana over the past year, and could also impact Texans as they recover from Hurricane Harvey. Currently, residents are blocked from using federal assistance money to pay off SBA loans that they take out after disasters. But Edwards says removing that restriction would provide badly needed relief for people rebuilding their lives.
Tomorrow the Louisiana Board of Ethics decides the fate of Thibodaux Representative Dee Richard, who gambled $37-thousand in campaign funds between 2012 and 2015. He says he was never a gambler before he started taking medication for Parkinson’s, and the drug was later linked to gambling addiction. He says he’s prepared to pay back the money, but he’d like to finish out the remaining two years of his last term.
The woman accused of shooting a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agent was sentenced to 20 years in prison on separate charges. Amethyst Baird of Monroe got 10 years for possession of stolen items and 10 more for a second methamphetamine possession charge. Baird is also accused of shooting LDWF Agent Tyler Wheeler five times during a traffic stop in January.
Many Louisianans have likely noticed a serious uptick in the amount of lovebugs we’re seeing. LSU-Shreveport Associate professor of Biological Sciences Beverly Burden says the relatively mild summer can be to blame for this. She says these last few months are wetter and cooler than we typically see this time of year. Burden says while the lovebugs are a major nuisance she expects the population to decline in the next 10 to 14 days.
Rural parishes in Louisiana are struggling more than major cities to combat the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. Linda Meredith is the research and development manager for the advocacy group HEROES. She says rural regions account for 15 percent of the HIV/AIDS cases in the state. Meredith adds the mortality rate is 1.6 times higher in northeast Louisiana than near major cities. Addressing the epidemic has been difficult because funding is tight, especially in the poorest corner of the state. Louisiana ranks first in the country for new HIV infections.
A third sperm whale has been found stranded off the Louisiana coast. State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist Mandy Tumlin says they are working to determine the cause of the increase in dead animals washing onto Louisiana beaches. She says an autopsy will soon be conducted on this mammal found beached on Grand Isle. This latest sperm whale is a female and is one of five of the endangered species found in the northern Gulf of Mexico over the past year.
News for Wednesday 090617
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office has arrested six suspects in a ring of burglaries in and near the Kellyland subdivision. The residential burglaries were reported over a period of several weeks. The suspects, juveniles thru 18 years of age, were located and arrested after RPSO personnel received a report of several people carrying flat-screen TVs in the area.
Alexandria City Marshall Terence Grines officially resigned from his job yesterday. The resignation comes on the heels of a criminal investigation where Grines faces a series of felony charges including malfeasance in office, two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance II with intent to distribute, resisting an officer with force or violence, and illegal carrying of a weapon.
He is set to be arraigned on Friday.
Alexandria police report a 25-year-old man was fatally shot Sunday evening in the city.
APD officers responded to a report of shots fired in the 1700 block of Beatrice Street at around 10 p.m. Sunday. They found the victim moaning but unresponsive.
He was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Hurricane Irma is a Category 5 storm moving through the Caribbean, but state climatologist Barry Keim says Irma should be Florida’s problem, not Louisiana’s. He says a cold front will move over the state today pushing the storm away. Keim says the storm certainly bears watching, because things can change, but for now Louisiana appears to be in the clear. He says the cold front will bring delightful conditions to the Bayou State that will last through the weekend.
The state department of children and family services is loading up Harvey survivors and sending them home to Texas, as the shelters in Shreveport and Alexandria are closing. Families are the first to head home, and there’s even space on the bus for small pets. Most of the storm victims are from the Orange, Texas area. The move to a shelter in Dallas should be completed Thursday.
State Officials got together yesterday to discuss Louisiana’s response plan should another storm hit us while Texas recovers from Hurricane Harvey. Mike Steele with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says we are still in the heart of hurricane season, and resources in Louisiana could be strained. He says as part of the exercise, state agencies and emergency managers were asked to take actions without support from Texas.
Tropical Depression number 13 has formed in the Bay of Campeche. It’s expected to become a tropical storm today, but only impact Mexico. Still, Mike Steele, with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, says we still need to be prepared.
The state department of corrections is exploring new safeguards to prevent work release inmates from escaping. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Adult Services, Perry Stagg, says they’re looking at a variety of options from more supervision to ankle bracelets. Stagg says the department has seen a decrease in inmates walking off their jobs in recent years, and this is an effort to continue that trend. In 2016, 70 of the more than 5,000 work release participants escaped.
The Lafayette Sheriff’s daughter and babysitter are safe and sound after the two went missing in a canoe overnight. John Mowell with the sheriff’s office says 21-year-old Juliana Brooks and 7-year-old Cora Garber were found near an oil well in the Lake Martin area after an all-night search.
UL-Lafayette’s petroleum engineering department was ranked seventh best in the nation and thirteenth in the world by CEOWORLD magazine. Department Head Dr. Fathi Boukadi says it’s an honor for the program to be ranked among the best in the world, and he hopes to continue to improve the department. Job placement was a key factor in the report, as UL students get lots of hands on experience.
Two Louisiana State Police troopers avoided suspension and received only minor discipline for taking an unauthorized "side trip" last year to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon while driving across the country to attend a law enforcement conference in California. In doing so, they charged taxpayers for thousands of dollars in overtime — as they traveled to San Diego for the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police conference.
News for Tuesday 090517
By Dave Graichen
According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, 12,000 more people are holding down jobs in the state compared to last year. LSU economist Loren Scott attributes the increase to an industrial boom in Lake Charles and Baton Rouge and improvements in the construction sector. Construction employment is at an all-time high in the state.
Hurricane Irma strengthened overnight but it isn't clear if the storm will threaten Florida. The storm's 145 mph winds are expected to lash the Leeward Islands, the U-S Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by Wednesday. Forecasters expect the storm to turn north at some point. Where that happens will determine if or where it hits the U-S mainland.
The state Department of Children and Family Services says they’ve decided to open a second mega-shelter for flood victims from Texas, this time in Shreveport. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says they’re also taking care of nearly 2000 Lone Star State residents in Alexandria.
I-10 is now open in both directions at the Texas state line, according to State Police. But some other roads remain closed due to flooding, and you can check 511la.org for an up-to-date map of closures around the state.
Louisiana has the fifth highest obesity rate in the country, according to a report from Trust for America’s Health. President and CEO John Auerbach says perhaps even more troubling is the finding that Louisiana ranks fourth in the country for childhood obesity of 10- to 17-year-olds, at 21 percent.
Relief efforts are ongoing amid the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey, and many are asking how they can help those affected. Chairman of the Board for the Greater Baton Rouge Red Cross, Desiree Lemoine says donating money is the easiest way to give because the Red Cross can buy in bulk. She says those who wish to donate can specify what they want their donation to go towards. To donate or volunteer, go online to RedCross.org.
A weekend boating incident in Cameron Parish took the life of a little boy. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents say 11-year-old Griffin LeBlanc and another 11-year-old boy were jumping off a boat on Lake Calcasieu when they jumped into the path of an oncoming vessel. LeBlanc’s body was recovered, and the other boy was taken to a hospital in serious condition.
The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary is seeking volunteers to clean up the 2.5 mile stretch of beach on Elmer’s Island later this month. Spokesperson Alma Robichaux says the event is in coordination with the international coastal cleanup that happens every September. To sign up, visit b-t-n-e-p.dot-org.
A Monroe-native is launching a new streaming TV network next month. Ro Wright says CONGO TV launches online on October 1. He says the network will be available through a variety of streaming options. Wright says he hopes to help local actors showcase their talent in feature films. He says the network will also feature local program based on where users log in, as well as original films and reality shows.
A Baton Rouge General Doctor is one of the first physicians in the country to perform a successful new stoke prevention procedure. Dr. Vince Weaver says this is a minimally invasive procedure that reverses the blood flow through the brain to divert blood clots and plaque away from the brain to prevent blockage and stroke. Three procedures have already been successful and several more are scheduled. Weaver says the previous procedure for high risk patients involved open surgery, which increases the risk of stroke and heart attack. He says this treatment option is significantly safer.
The 2017 season is off to a good start for the LSU Tigers. The Bayou Bengals blanked BYU 27-0 as the Tigers outgained the Cougars 479-to-97. It’s the first time the Tigers have shutout an opponent since 2014 and first opening game shutout since the 2007 national championship team. Coach O was a happy guy.
News for Friday 090117
By Dave Graichen
Nearly 900 disaster victims from Texas are taking shelter in Louisiana. That’s according to Governor John Bel Edwards, who says the state is prepared to take in 3,000 more of our neighbors, who can be housed at shelters in Lake Charles, here at the evac-center in Alexandria, and in Shreveport
Irma is now a category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic with winds up to 115 miles per hour. Forecasters say Irma will be a major hurricane by the time it reaches the Caribbean early next week. Governor Edwards says while we aren’t sure where the system will go, there is a chance it could head for the Bayou State.
The western half of Calcasieu Parish is under a voluntary evacuation as flooding from the Sabine River is possible. Tom Hoefer with the parish police jury says fewer than one thousand homes and camps are included in the evacuation. He says residents in the area have plenty of time to get out of their homes. The river is extremely swollen after the flood gates were opened at the Toledo Bend Reservoir.
The Department of Agriculture’s mobile pet shelter has been deployed in Lake Charles to help with pet evacuations. Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says they will do whatever they can to ensure pets are safe, while their owners are coping with the disaster. He says currently they have 86 pets in their care and they are preparing for an additional 500 pets in here in Alexandria. He says donations of dog and cat food are welcome. The department is providing 200 soft sided carriers for pets traveling by bus.
Prices at the pump jumped three cents overnight as storm-impacted refineries shut down in Texas. Don Redman with AAA says the statewide average is about $2.22 a gallon, up from $2.14 a week ago. Redman says prices could reach up to $2.40 a gallon in the coming weeks before the refineries reopen. But he says once they do, there’s an ample supply of gasoline for plants to distribute.
This weekend Louisiana hunters can enjoy a tax break on their guns and ammo during the 2nd Amendment sales tax holiday. Byron Henderson with the state department of revenue says eligible items will be fully exempt from local sales taxes and subject to only three percent of the state sales tax. The sales tax holiday runs this Friday through Sunday throughout the state.
The Cajun Navy is hard at work rescuing disaster victims in Texas, and the Cajun Gravy is making sure they are well fed. The Cajun Gravy is serving up Louisiana delicacies like jambalaya to first responders in Orange, Texas. The group consists of cooks from Baton Rouge, Gonzales, and Donaldsonville.
The original owners of the Hodges Garden State Park are taking back the 948-acre recreation area in Sabine Parish because the state department of tourism can’t afford to maintain the facility. The assistant secretary in charge of the state park system, Robert Braham, says the state is transferring Hodges back to the Hodges Foundation, effective the last day of September. The state took over the park in 2007. Barham says there have been issues with upkeep due to continued budget cuts for Louisiana’s state parks. He says in the last 10 years, the department has seen a 40 percent reduction in funding.
A team of 10 Baton Rouge area firefighters are heading to Port Arthur, Texas, to assist with the Harvey relief efforts, as the city is reportedly underwater. Task Force 2 consists of seven firefighters from Baton Rouge, two from Hammond, and one from Zachary. The team of trained rescuers will be in Texas for two weeks.
State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is urging Louisiana residents to purchase flood insurance as we’re seeing an uptick of historic flooding events. He says when congress reconvenes next month, he will push for significant changes to the National Flood Insurance Program.
The Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office says a high school teacher is under arrest in Jennings for allegedly having an improper relationship with a student. They say deputies received a complaint about 26-year-old Rachel Gillespie, and an investigation led detectives to request a warrant. She was booked for indecent behavior with a juvenile.
The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau is gearing up for a busy weekend as the LSU-BYU season opener takes at the Mercedes Benz Superdome at 8:30 p.m Saturday. Kristian Sonnier with the CVB says even though the game was relocated last minute due to Harvey, they are expecting a big crowd. He says the Decadence Festival will be underway at the same time. Sonnier expects about 50,000 people will be in the Crescent City for the game that they were not anticipating.
News for Thursday 083117
By Dave Graichen
No Public school Thursday in the following parishes.. Rapides Parish, Vernon Parish, LaSalle Parish & Beauregard Parish. Also closed, Catholic schools in Rapides and Natchitoches parishes. Classes are cancelled at LSUA, all campuses of NSU, Central Louisiana Technical College's Alexandria, Winnfield, Natchitoches, Many, Jena and Leesville campuses &The Learning Center for Rapides Parish.
Classes will resume today in Avoyelles Parish, St. Landry & Grant Parish public schools and at Louisiana College.
The Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s office is strongly advising residents on the western side of the parish to evacuate. That’s because the Sabine River Authority opened all of the flood gates at Toledo Bend Lake by one foot because of rising waters. The authority says they may continue to raise the gates in one-foot increments to provide a controlled release.
Harvey continues to move to the North East, out of the state. State Climatologist Barry Keim says fortunately Louisiana has been spared from much of the flooding seen in Texas. He says that’s because the system ingested dry air. Keim says the greatest rainfall total from Houston is nearly 52 inches, while the Bayou State has topped out at around 30 inches in extreme southwest Louisiana.
High water a problem on I-10. If you’re trying to get to Texas, be advised I-10 Westbound at milepost 4 near the Texas state line is closed due to flooding on the Texas side of the Sabine River.
Louisianans who want to help with the Harvey relief efforts both in Texas and Louisiana can find ways to give at VolunteerLouisiana.gov. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says thousands have already signed up to give their time and resources to those in need.
Members of the Louisiana National Guard continue to help with search and rescue efforts in Texas, as flood waters will not recede for some time. Col. Ed Bush says it’s a great feeling to be able to help our neighbors in need. Bush says hundreds of rescues have already been conducted, and many Texans are now in shelters in Lake Charles.
Calcasieu Parish survived Tropical Storm Harvey without any widespread flooding. Sheriff Tony Mancuso says the rural areas on the western side of the parish took on some water, but all things considered, it could have been much worse.
Harvey is finally moving out of Gulf Coast, but forecasters are now keeping an eye on a tropical disturbance near southern Mexico. Andy Tingler with the National Weather Service says there is a low chance this system could develop into a tropical depression or storm over the next five days. There is also Tropical Storm Irma, which is currently gaining strength in the Atlantic and is located off the western coast of Africa. Tingler says there’s a good chance Irma could develop into a hurricane over the next few days.
Congress will be tasked with reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program once lawmakers reconvene in September. This has become an even bigger priority as hundreds of thousands of homeowners cope with the flood waters left by Harvey. US Senator John Kennedy says the NFIP is the only option for homeowners to cover homes for flooding. He says the amount of flooding from substantial rainfall has doubled in the past decade. He says virtually no one in the country today is immune from flooding, no matter where you live.
New Orleans received minimal impacts from Harvey and the city is in good shape to host the LSU-BYU football game on Saturday. Ticket sales are underway for the LSU-BYU season opener at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Fans who purchased tickets for the game in Houston, season ticket holders and students have first priority. LSU Ticket Manager Brian Broussard says the general public can now buying tickets online through Ticketmaster. Ticket prices range from 40-dollars to 250-dollars
News for Wednesday 083017
By Dave Graichen
Public schools in Rapides Parish, Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Grant, Natchitoches, St. Landry and Vernon parishes will be closed Wednesday as tropical storm Harvey moves across the state. Also closed today Catholic schools in Rapides, Avoyelles and Natchitoches parishes, Alpine Christian School , Grace Christian School, University Academy, St. James Episcopal Day School, Montessori Educational Center & Alexandria Country Day School. Louisiana State University of Alexandria, Louisiana College, the Learning Center for Rapides Parish, Northwestern State University campuses and Central Louisiana Technical College's nine campuses are all closed.
Southwest Louisiana will likely see the biggest impact from Tropical Storm Harvey, but the entire state will be affected. In northwest Louisiana, a flash flood watch is in effect through Thursday evening. Lisa May with the National Weather Service in Shreveport expects periods of heavy rainfall through the end of the week. May says the area could also see gusty winds and isolated tornadoes as Harvey treks through the area.
Cleco is ready for Tropical Storm Harvey’s arrival in Louisiana as five of the energy company’s operational regions are in the path of the storm. Jennifer Cahill with Cleco says they are doubling the number of crews available to safely restore power if need be. She says Cleco is reminding customers to stay safe and beware of rising water and downed power lines.
Cameron Parish braced for impact yesterday as Tropical Storm Harvey prepared to make a second landfall and start it’s treks north through the state. Office of Emergency Preparedness Director Danny Lavergne says the biggest threat from the storm is the water, as the parish received about 30 inches of rain in just the last two days. Forecasters are saying the costal parish could see another 10 to 20 inches of rain before the storm moves through.
Governor John Bel Edwards says the Cajun Navy’s work in Texas is receiving praise from local authorities. So how do they do it? Penny Shar with Project We Care Louisiana works in conjunction with the Cajun Navy 2016 and she says they use the Zello Smartphone App to communicate with nearby boats to help find stranded residents. Shar says they will work closely with officials here at home to organize efforts rescue efforts as well.
The Cajun Navy is working hard to assist Texas authorities with ongoing search and rescues. While volunteers work to rescue people in Texas, the North Louisiana Red Cross is giving them a place to stay once they are safe. Executive Director Michelle Davidson says the shelter at Morning Star Baptist Church will house up to 250 individuals.
State Police is investigating the shooting of a Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s deputy. The suspect in the case was fatally shot. Authorities say a deputy was shot while conducting a traffic stop near Simsboro High School. His bullet proof vest deflected the bullet. The state police says the deputy returned fire, killing the suspect.
LSU says fans who bought tickets for the season opener against BYU in Houston will have their money refunded automatically. Athletic Director Joe Alleva says those who had tickets, will get first priority to purchase tickets for the game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, then LSU season ticket holders, students followed by the general public.
News for Tuesday 082917
By Dave Graichen
Harvey has strengthened as it moves over the Gulf along the Texas coast. John Cangialosi with the National Hurricane Center says the biggest concern is the continued rainfall over eastern Texas and western Louisiana with isolated totals reaching 50 inches in some areas. He encourages everyone to stay up to date on advisories issued in their areas.
Governor John Bel Edwards says the worst is yet to come in Louisiana with Tropical Storm Harvey. He says in southwest Louisiana, forecasters say 10-15 inches of additional rain could fall on already saturated grounds through Friday.
The National Guard has mobilized about 60 soldiers to Southwest Louisiana to assist with the possibility of flooding due to Tropical Storm Harvey. High water vehicles and boats are prepositioned in eight of the state’s western parishes.
The Cajun Navy is assisting with the flood response in Texas and additional resources are on the way. Penny Shar is with Project We Care Louisiana, she says about 100 people with boats and high water vehicles left from Baton Rouge, and more are leaving from Lafayette. Forty Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents are also in Texas assisting authorities with search and rescue efforts.
Several roads are under water in south Louisiana. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has told citizens in the Crescent City to stay home today and off the streets.
Three men from St. Tammany Parish are heroes. The had just arrived in Houston to help flood victims when they spotted an elderly woman face-down in the floodwaters brought by Tropical Storm Harvey. Joshua Lincoln said he and fellow "Cajun Navy" members Ricky Berrigan and Donnie Davenport were able to pull the woman, 73-year-old Wilma Ellis, into their boat and get her breathing again in relatively short order. They say it was a case of just being in the right place at the right time.
It’s official, LSU’s season opener against BYU will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Kickoff is set for 8:30, and the game will be televised by ESPN. Tickets and parking passes purchased through LSU’s ticket office will be automatically refunded tomorrow. The LSU ticket office will work to set up a purchasing structure for that event, and fans will be alerted when tickets are available. The game was moved from NRG Stadium in Houston because of epic flooding from Harvey.
Today marks 12 years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana, and Texans are facing a similar situation now with Harvey. State climatologist Barry Keim says both made landfall as a major hurricane, but Katrina reached Category 5 strength in the Gulf and weakened, while Harvey continued to strengthen until landfall. Keim says the biggest surge from Harvey so far is 6.8 feet, while Katrina caused the biggest surge ever measured in the western hemisphere at 28 feet. Keim says Harvey has been meandering around at about 2 miles per hour. He notes the storm has only moved about 100 miles since last Friday.
Today marks the 12 year anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina. Over 15-hundred people died in Louisiana from the powerful storm. But, former Governor Kathleen Blanco says it could’ve been a lot worse if they hadn’t of evacuate one million people from New Orleans. Some people decided not to leave. Many of them were casualties of the storm. She says so many Louisiana residents worked feverously to help each other during that difficult time. When asked about the situation in Houston, Blanco said she doesn’t understand why a city the size of Houston has no evacuation plan in place.
News for Monday 082817
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana is not out of the woods yet when it comes to Tropical Storm Harvey. Edwards asks residents to stay vigilant and pay attention to local news reports. State Climatologist Barry Keim says Harvey will eventually move towards Louisiana. Keim says rainfall from Harvey is Louisiana’s biggest threat.
Lake Charles could still see upwards of 12 inches of rain. Here in Central Louisiana 4 to 6 inches and New Orleans up to 8 inches are possible through the end of the week.
As Tropical Storm Harvey delivered a wallop Sunday to Louisiana’s neighbors in Texas, Louisianans remembered the many disasters that have struck home and Texans were always there to help. The Pelican State managed Sunday to avoid most of Harvey’s fury. But around Baton Rouge, Lafayette and other parts of the state, members of the Cajun Navy sprang into action to return the neighborly love. Many who spent last August wading around south Louisiana’s floodwaters in boats packed them up Sunday and headed west to help rescue Texans caught in the floods.
The FAA has announced Houston's Hobby Airport, a key piece of New Orleans' Louis Armstrong Airport and Southwest Airlines' travel schedules, is closed until Wednesday morning at the earliest. Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, which files to both New Orleans and Baton Rouge's airports, is also closed. The FAA expects that airport might reopen today.
With Louisiana in a state of emergency due to Harvey, the Attorney General’s Office warns consumers to be wary of price gouging. Deputy Director of Public Protection Mike Dupree says once the governor declares a state of emergency, price gouging laws go into effect. Dupree says that does not include price changes like a few cents increase for a gallon of gas, which could go up due to the market. But he says if the price of emergency supplies spikes overnight, consumers should be suspicious. He encourages anyone who suspects a business of price gouging to report it immediately.
The Shreveport City Council will soon consider a proposal to construct a 30-million dollar sports complex in the downtown area. The goal of the complex, which would be right next to a proposed mixed use development site, is to lure the New Orleans Pelicans G-League team to the arena. Local banker Rich Holland says different entities are now gathering their plans for presentation. There is also talk of the facility being used as a practice facility for the New Orleans Saints.
For the second straight preseason game, the Saints defense did not allow an offensive touchdown. The Saints held the Texans to 246 total yards and 13 first downs in a 13-0 victory over Houston on Saturday night.
LSU is scheduled to play BYU this Saturday, but athletic director Joe Alleva doubts it can be played in Houston. Alleva says a number of alternate locations are being considered and a decision should be made early this week.
News for Friday 082517
By Dave Graichen
Hurricane Harvey is expected to reach Category 3 strength by the time the storm makes landfall in Texas. Eric Blake with the National Hurricane Center says the storm isn’t expected to move far inland, as it makes landfall early Saturday morning. Models show Harvey moving east towards Louisiana after making landfall, and Governor John Bel Edwards has already declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the storm. Extensive rainfall is expected, and the governor says citizens should prepare now.
Edwards says the biggest concern is in southwest Louisiana, but the entire state could see high rainfall totals.
More jobs are coming to Union Parish, as Foster Farms announces a $30 million expansion that will result in 50 new direct jobs and 42 indirect jobs. Farmerville Mayor Stein Baughman says this is huge for the parish. The poultry processing facility will also maintain over 1,000 existing jobs.
A southwest Louisiana mother of four is now a millionaire after winning $2 million in the Powerball. The woman works as an assistant manager at the Tiger Mart in Lake Arthur. Store manager April Lemaire says if anyone deserves to win, it’s her. The Tiger Mart will receive a bonus of 20-thousand dollars for selling the ticket. Lemaire says the assistant manager plans to keep working at the convenience store.
The state Department of Education announces a new program has launched that would let experienced teachers statewide get training to become mentors to aspiring educators. They say beginning in the fall and over the next three years, Louisiana will establish at least 2,500 professionals equipped with the necessary skills to help guide a new generation of teachers.
Louisiana is home to the third worse drivers in the nation, according to a report by SmartAsset. Vice President of Financial Education AJ Smith says they looked at vehicle fatalities, insurance rates, and Google searches to determine the rankings. She says the Bayou State did not fare well in any of those categories. Smith says at 86 percent, Louisiana has the 16th lowest rate of insured drivers in the country. Florida and Mississippi were the only states that had worse drivers than Louisiana.
Louisiana customers who use Walmart to conduct money transfers can use a new feature called Express Money Services. The company says instead of filling out paperwork at the store, you can enter the information into the Walmart app. Customers will use a dedicated Express Lane at the store to complete the transaction.
A third relative has been arrested in Webster Parish in the bizarre case of a seven-year-old who shot his aunt twice. The child’s grandmother, 64-year-old Cheryl Lee of Shreveport was booked on obstruction of justice as she allegedly tried to cover up the shooting. The boy’s mother and grandfather are also facing charges.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office has ruled the death of a 53-year-old man whose body was found in the backyard of a home in an overgrown area, as a homicide. They say Dale Sands had been reported missing by the Sheriff’s Office, and officials say he was shot in the chest and head. Investigators have not yet established a motive or suspect.
The Saints are set to the play the Texans in exhibition game number three. Quarterback Drew Brees is expected to get his first action of the preseason and he’s excited to finally play in a game. Veteran running back Adrian Peterson is expected to make his preseason debut as well. Brees says he’s been impressed with the future Hall of Famer during camp.
News for Thursday 082417
By Dave Graichen
Keeping an eye on Harvey.. Now a tropical storm.. State Climatologist Barry Keim says this system will likely be more of a rainmaker for most of Louisiana, but areas across the coast are looking at more complicated circumstances. Keim says Harvey should make landfall around the central-Texas coast sometime Friday evening. He says once that happens, the system is expected to turn eastward, and slow down. There’s the potential that over 20 inches of rain, with Houston/Galveston being ground zero. Keim says once the storm stalls, it could sit there for a couple of days.
Most of the schools in the Rapides Parish School District are eligible now to participate in a federal program that allows schools to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students. The Community Eligibility Program helps individual schools or entire districts in some cases to feed every student for free without families submitting an application for free or reduced meals. All but 16 of the 49 Rapides Parish schools qualify to participate in the program.
The Pineville PD reports the Dollar General on Main Street in Pineville was held up at gunpoint yesterday afternoon about 5 p.m. Employees told investigators that the unidentified suspect entered the store brandishing a firearm and demanding money from the cash register. They complied. Police are asking anyone with information to please contact them. The robber was described as a black male wearing blue shorts and a dark-colored hoodie. He was last seen running along the railroad tracks on Main Street in the direction of Melrose.
67 year old Walter Smith Sr. of Pineville turned himself into Tuesday following an investigation into complaints about home improvement fraud. Smith was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on five counts of home improvement fraud greater than $1,500. He later was released on a $15,000 bond.
Twenty-five years ago today one of the most destructive hurricanes in U.S. history made landfall in Florida and then crossed the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall near Morgan City. Andrew slammed into Louisiana on August 26th, 1992. It left extensive damage in its wake in St. Mary and Iberia Parishes and across a good portion of south Louisiana. Private property damage was estimated at one billion dollars.
LSU quarterback Danny Etling is excited about being named the starter when the Tigers hit the field September 2nd against BYU in Houston.
Confederate monuments should be replaced with statues of Britney Spears according to a Louisiana woman who has thousands of people that agree with her. Rayne native and petition creator, Kassie Thibodeaux, says the Change.org petition has over 4500 signatures and she hopes the governor notices.
A 38-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting an elderly man in Opelousas in a road rage incident. Police Chief Donald Thompson says they arrested Joshua Babineaux this morning after the public recognized him from surveillance video released to the media. Babineaux is charged with aggravated second degree battery and simple battery of the infirm.
Baton Rouge Police are looking for a man from Ponchatoula accused of shooting and killing a 19-year-old woman. They say 20-year-old James Seymore is believed to have been playing with a hand gun in the back of a vehicle when it accidentally fired striking the victim, Briana Hornsby while she was driving. Seymore fled on foot and remains at large. Hornsby died from her injuries.
Southern Lab High School will have to vacate its 2016 and 2015 state championship football titles, plus its runner-up trophy in 2014 after it was learned the Baton Rouge school violated the LHSAA’s recruiting rules. The school has been banned from postseason play for the next two years and their head coach has been fired and suspended by the LHSAA for one year.
St. Martinville hopes to become “The Pepper City of the World.” Mayor Pro Tem Mike Fuselier says they will ask the state legislature to pass a resolution giving them the prestigious title. He says for nearly a century, St. Martinville has had a pepper industry, like Pepper’s Unlimited. St. Martinville is also known for the company Cajun Chef, which produces 250 different products. Fuselier says they also have been home to a pepper festival for the last 26 years. He says the town is a big tourist attraction and adding this title will only boost visitors.
News for Wednesday 082317
By Dave Graichen
A Leesville man was killed in a two vehicle accident yesterday morning east of Pitkin on LA 10. State police report 54 Year old Timothy Philips was killed when he pulled out into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Philips, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle during the crash. A passenger in Philip’s vehicle was reported to have minor injuries.
People all over Louisiana are rushing to get a Powerball ticket as tonight’s jackpot has reached 700-million dollars, with a cash value of 443 million dollars. Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kim Chopin says now that the jackpot is so high, many offices and friends join together to buy a pool of tickets for a better chance to win the prize. She says it’s a good idea to make sure one person is in charge of the tickets. Preferably someone you trust.
Governor John Bel Edwards says state officials are monitoring the disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico named Harvey, and GOHSEP is setting up their crisis action team today. He says the storm could hit Southeast Texas sometime Friday as a Category 1 hurricane, so Southwest Louisiana should be on alert.
A 38-year-old Ruston man has been arrested for allegedly fatally shooting the mother of his children and injuring another woman and a one-year-old. Authorities say Frank Stringfellow is charged with one count of first degree murder. The 54-year-old injured woman and the baby are expected to survive.
Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton says a 7-year-old boy who shot his aunt two times for not feeding him will not be charged with a crime. He says police responded to a home outside of Minden last week and found Amanda Gipson suffering from two gunshot wounds. She claimed it was an accident, but Sexton isn’t buying that. He says the child can’t be charged due to his age. Sexton says this was not an accident and he hopes this 7-year-old gets help.
President Donald Trump stated Monday night that America must fight to win the war in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops have been stationed since 2001. Louisiana GOP Chairman Roger Villere says the United States should’ve never been in this war but he agrees with the president’s sentiments. The president did not say how many additional troops he would send into Afghanistan and seemed to agree with the Pentagon’s suggestion for sending in about 4-thousand soldiers. Villere says it’s time to fix this mess and end the war in Afghanistan.
LSU’s new mascot, Mike VII, appears to be right at home and loving his new habitat on campus since being introduced Monday. Formerly Harvey, the tiger was donated to LSU by the Wild at Heart Wildlife Center in Okeechobee, Florida. Jeremy Hargett is the co-owner of the rescue facility. He says when they re-home big animals like Mike, they pray that they end up in a good, thriving situation. He says now that Harvey has a new home in Baton Rouge surrounded by love and LSU fans, they aren’t worried about him one bit.
News for Tuesday 082217
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria City Marshal Terence Grines is not expected to appear in court Thursday for his arraignment, pending the results of a pre-sentencing investigation requested by the court. However, he is still expected to resign from his job this week as part of a plea deal. Grines was arrested June 23 after a multi-jurisdictional drug investigation.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Metairie is telling his colleagues that he will wait until his doctors give him the okay, before he returns to the Capitol. A spokesperson for the Republican lawmaker says Scalise was on a conference call with GOP legislators today to discuss spending bills. Scalise was shot in June in the hip and is undergoing inpatient rehabilitation, after undergoing several surgeries.
A report by Caring.com finds Louisiana is the 32nd best state to grow old. Caring.com Vice President Tim Sullivan says Louisiana did not rank anywhere close to the top 10, because of the quality of life in senior care facilities. The study incorporated statistics on senior living community reviews, nursing home costs, in-home care prices and elderly well-being assessments. In case you’re wondering, the report found Utah is the best state to grow old.
Today Governor John Bel Edwards is slated to meet with new FEMA Administrator Brock Long. The governor’s communications director Richard Carbo says Edwards would like to discuss how local, state, and federal authorities can partner to prepare the city of New Orleans for another devastating flood. Of course last year’s flood will also be an issue for the two to discuss. During the floods of 2016, 56 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes were declared federal disaster areas. FEMA was on hand to help with emergency response and the rebuilding.
The Department of Children and Family Services announces over half a million dollars of child support payments have been paid through MoneyGram in the first six months of the year. Child Support Enforcement Director Lydia Scales says they’ve seen an increase in participation after allowing electronic payments. She says it’s made it easier for noncustodial parents, who do not have bank accounts, to pay their child support, because they can now make payments in cash. Payments for the first six months of the year totaled more than $530,000.
A 20-million dollar annual federal grant has been awarded to the state Department of Education to help struggling public schools. Educations officials say schools over the next few weeks will apply for the money and those with the best plans for progress will receive the funds. A struggling school is defined as a school that earned a performance rating of a D or an F for the last three years and currently 225 schools in Louisiana fit this description.
Michael Tyler, better known as Louisiana rapper Mystikal, has turned himself into authorities in Caddo Parish after a warrant for his arrest was issued. Sgt. Paula Farquhar (far-kwar) with the Shreveport Police Department says Tyler along with a 26-year-old Texas man have been charged with first degree rape. Authorities are still searching for 42-year-old Tenichia Wafford, of Texas, who is charged with one count of Accessory after the fact to first degree rape for allegedly trying to convince the victim to drop the charges against the rapper.
Shreveport Representative Thomas Carmody will not bring back a bill seeking to protect Confederate monuments. Carmody attempted to pass a proposed law during the last legislative session to require a public vote, before a military monument could be taken down. It passed the House, but died in a Senate committee. Four Confederate monuments have been removed in New Orleans, but there are still ones standing in Shreveport, Lafayette, Tallulah and here in Alexandria.
Big day on the LSU campus Monday, as classes started and a new live mascot is wandering around in his habitat. The 11-month-old male tiger arrived last week in Baton Rouge and was confined to his night house until his debut yesterday.
There were no winners of Saturday night’s Powerball jackpot drawing, and the big prize now goes to $650 million dollars. The cash value of the Wednesday jackpot is $411.7
An announcement could come as early today as on who will be the Tigers starting quarterback for the season opener against BYU. Senior Danny Etling is expected to get the nod, but offensive coordinator Matt Canada likes what he’s seen from freshman Myles Brennan.
News for Monday 082117
By Dave Graichen
Millions of Americans are getting ready to watch today’s total solar eclipse. LSU astronomy professor Michael Cherry says this is the first time since 1979 a solar eclipse has been visible from the US. He says the total eclipse will be visible in a path about 70 miles wide from Oregon to South Carolina. Cherry says most of Louisiana will see about 80 percent of the sun blocked during the eclipse. He says the best time to view it will be between 1 and 2 p.m.
The Louisiana SPCA advises pet owners to bring their fur babies inside during today’s solar eclipse. Pets don’t normally stare at the sun, but just to be on the safe side, best to leave them indoors. Experts recommend bringing them in 30 minutes before the eclipse begins, and waiting until 30 minutes after it ends to let them back out.
The first ever live broadcast of a solar eclipse from a high-altitude balloon will take place in Illinois by the Louisiana Space Grant Consortium, a NASA based program of LSU students. Professor and Associate Chair of the LSU Physics and Astronomy Department Dr. Dana Browne says by hanging an HD video camera underneath a weather balloon, they will be able to see the shadow of the moon crossing over the earth’s surface. Browne says the video will be sent from the balloon to the ground station through a wireless transmitter and then live streamed.
Louisianan’s unemployment rate is falling. According to the AP, the jobless rate dipped to 5.3 percent in June from 6.2 percent a year ago. One hundred ten thousand people in Louisiana are unemployed, down from 115,000 in July. The Bayou State’s unemployment rate is still the third highest in the country.
It’s expected there will be a big need for industrial plant workers in Baton Rouge through 2018. Greater Baton Rouge Industrial Alliance Executive Director Connie Fabre says the demand for skilled employees will be so high because of all the new facilities that will be coming online over the next couple of years. Fabre says industrial crafts in most demand are things like pipe fitting, welding and electrical and instrument technicians…:
The 96th Cadet Class began the Louisiana State Police Training Academy on Sunday. For about 20 weeks, thirty-six men and women from a variety of backgrounds will undergo an intensive training regimen. Sgt. Jared Sandifer says after graduating, the new troopers will participate in a 10 to 14 week field training program.
Voter registration week begins today, and Secretary of State Tom Schedler is encouraging citizens to take part. He says new voters and those who have just moved back into the state should register. Louisiana will be electing a state treasurer this fall as well as hosting many local elections, propositions and constitutional amendments on the ballot. Schedler says you can register online at sos.la.gov
No more confederate statues will come down in New Orleans, according to Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Landrieu says taking down the statues of Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, and Jefferson Davis were the right thing to do but removing Andrew Jackson is a step too far. Landrieu says the Andrew Jackson statue was put in place for all the right reasons.
The state department of transportation has redesigned the concrete walls on new interstate projects. Secretary Shawn Wilson says two inch tall openings will be put in the walls every so many feet to allow water to flow though. Three projects currently underway will feature the new design.
The homeowner assistance program for flood victims has been expanded by the Restore Louisiana Task Force. Office of Community Development executive director Pat Forbes says this means all homeowners impacted by the flood now qualify for assistance. Members of the board approved the changes recommended by Governor John Bel Edwards without objection.
The Saints defense flexed its muscles last night in 13-7 victory over LA Chargers in Week 2 of the Preseason. Quarterback Drew Brees, defensive end Cameron Jordan and running backs Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson did not play Sunday night, marking the second straight game.
News for Wednesday 081617
By Dave Graichen
A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agent who was shot in the line of duty in Morehouse Parish has returned to work. 25-year-old Tyler Wheeler of Monroe was shot four times while conducting a traffic stop in January. 31-year-old Amethyst Baird and 34-year-old Jeremy Gullette have been charged in the shooting and are awaiting trial. Tuesday was Wheeler’s first day back on patrol duties
The BESE board meets behind closed doors today to discuss the job status of state Education Superintendent John White. Board member Kathy Edmonston of Gonzales says she would like the entire panel to vote to whether or not White stays in the position he’s held since 2012. White makes 270-thousand dollars a year and works month to month, as the board has yet to extend his contract.
A new report by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network finds Louisiana along with 11 other Southern states are slacking when it comes to implementing policies to reduce and prevent tobacco use. The report finds over 24-thousand people in Louisiana will be diagnosed with cancer this year and over 9-thousand will die from it.
A man has been charged in a double homicide after calling the cops on himself. Maj. Steven Williams with the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office says John Nichols fatally shot Anthony and Rachel Denicola outside their home. He says two juveniles were inside the residence at the time. Nichols called police after the incident to report the shooting.
Governor John Bel Edwards once again met Attorney General Jeff Landry in a court room, as the battle continues over an anti-discrimination executive order. Edwards issued the order in April to protect the LGBT community from workplace discrimination in state offices. A judge ruled the order is unconstitutional, but Edwards appealed the ruling. An appeals court heard arguments yesterday. No word on when a decision may be rendered by the court.
39 year old Raven Desoto was I’d as a suspect in an Aug. 8 the burglary of a Kolin home. Authorities didn’t have to go far to arrest her, she was already in jail on unrelated charges. She was rebooked on charges of criminal trespassing, criminal damage of less than $500 and burglary of an inhabited dwelling.
After peaking over the last couple of weeks, gasoline prices appear to be leveling off, according Patrick DeHaan with GasBuddy. DeHaan expects gas prices may level off for the next few weeks before they really start to drop in mid- to late-September. Louisiana has the ninth lowest gas prices in the country with a statewide average of $2.16 a gallon.
The ACLU of Louisiana has sent a letter to Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves after a man was ticketed for flipping off a state trooper on I-20 near Rayville. Executive Director Marjorie Esman says the man was charged with felony public intimidation. Esman says as rude as it may be, giving someone the finger is a First Amendment right. The charge was dismissed by the state attorney who reviewed the case.
Two arrests have been made in the case of a 22-year-old Houston man who was brought to Louisiana to die. Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso said Dustin Hammons was last seen with the two suspects, 22-year-old Ashlyn Brown and 45-year-old Boyd “Lurch” Hagood, both of Baytown, Texas. The two are charged with second degree murder. Police are saying the incident was drug related.
The Humane Society of Louisiana is looking for answers after a three-legged dog was shot and killed in Acadia Parish. Director Jeff Dorson says it takes a sick person to take the life of a little three-legged dog who means so much to his family. A $500 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.
A study out of Harvard Medical School and the University of California finds about 55-percent of people say they are faced with unpleasant and potentially hazardous conditions at work. University of New Orleans Business Professor Mark Rosa says less educated individuals typically face tougher workplace conditions. He says nowadays, to get paid a decent wage, you need a college education.
Saints coach Sean Payton said of the rumors that the team was planning to trade Delvin Breaux, that he would never comment on that kind business. But added it’s normal to discuss players or possible trades during training camp.
Just a day after announcing his departure from LSU, quarterback Lindsey Scott already has a spot on another team. The Zachary High star signed with East Mississippi Community College Tuesday. EMCC has won three junior college national championships under Coach Buddy Stephens.
The New Orleans Pelicans schedule is out and they are slated to play the Warriors and Cavs in their first two home games of the season. The Pels start their season on October 18th on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies, then make their Smoothie King Center debut for 2017-2018 against the NBA Champ Golden State.
News for Tuesday 081517
By Dave Graichen
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy is still optimistic the Senate can pass a health care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Cassidy, along with Senators Lindsey Graham and Dean Heller have constructed a measure, which Cassidy says is the only instrument the Republicans have left. He says their solution is to give the power to the states by giving them federal health care dollars through a federal block grant.
Cassidy says right now we have a system that is not working and is not sustainable.
Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham said in an interview with the Fox network that he does not stand by any of the comments made by David Duke who was on hand at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Fellow Republican Congressman Tom Garrett of Virginia blamed the violence on outsiders from states like Louisiana, like Duke. Abraham said he’s offended by the comment and that the former KKK grand wizard does not speak for Louisiana.
Members of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation and the governor toured Denham Springs with HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson Monday, and praised him for efforts in cutting red tape during flood recovery. Carson says he is very pleased and impressed with the progress south Louisiana has made since last August. Although he says the money allocated will be well spent for flood recovery, Carson acknowledges regulations could be improved.
LSU has announced that fans will have to wait a little longer to take pictures and get autographs from their favorite players and coaches, as the annual Fan Day has been moved to the spring. Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette said there are many construction projects taking place on campus which just didn’t make Fan Day feasible this fall.
An audit of the state’s foster care program revealed that understaffing has led to increased caseloads for workers at the department of children and family services. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says they lost 2,000 workers in the Jindal Administration, which left workers with an average of 16 cases at a time. Karen Leblanc with the legislative auditor’s office says they found not all foster care providers had the required criminal background checks. They either had no check, or they were not completed in a timely manner.
The American Duchess paddle wheeler made her maiden voyage up the Mississippi River Monday, leaving out of the Port of New Orleans and making stops at historic sites and attractions. Port of New Orleans spokesperson Donnell Jackson says it’s a 166-guest ship offering inland cruises. This is the third vessel in the American Queen Steamboat Company’s fleet.
Cable barrier installation is set to begin this week in Caddo and Desoto Parishes along I-49, according to the state department of transportation. Erin Buchanan with DOTD says this is one of the larger cable barrier projects in the district with a total 41 miles to be installed. Most of that will be in Desoto Parish
News for Friday 081117
By Dave Graichen
State Police report a single vehicle crash killed a woman from Trout yesterday morning. Troopers say a pickup, driven by 47 year old Christie Kilgore, was westbound on LA Hwy 500 when Kilgore lost control and exited the left side of the roadway. After exiting the roadway, the vehicle collided with a tree. Kilgore, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.
State Police is investigating a fatal ATV crash in Avoyelles Parish that claimed the life of a man, and injured two young children. They believe 30-year-old Jeremy Armand of St. Martinville crossed into an oncoming lane of traffic on a roadway, and collided head on with a van traveling in the other direction. Armand died, and an 8-year-old and three-year-old on the ATV were injured. None of those on the ATV were wearing helmets.
One year ago today, torrential rains began pouring down on south Louisiana. By the time the rain stopped ten days later, 20 parishes had been declared federal disaster areas, and 13 people lost their lives. Livingston Parish was one of the most devastated, with 75 percent of the homes deemed a total loss. Parish President Layton Ricks says the parish is making a good comeback.
Louisiana has moved up two spots to number two in Insure-dot-com’s ranking of states with the most expensive auto insurance rates. The website says Louisiana drivers average annual rate is 19-hundred dollars, 46-percent higher than the national average. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says an excessive amount of litigation is one big factor.
The Department of Transportation has found a contractor to widen Interstate 10 from Highland Road in Baton Rouge to LA 73 in Ascension Parish. It will take around two and a half years to widen the interstate by one lane in each direction. The $72 million project is being funded through a combination of state and federal funds.
A man is behind bars in connection with the death of a Tennessee truck driver who was killed in an armed robbery on Tuesday morning. Baton Rouge Police Sgt. L’Jean McKneely says this wasn’t 18-year-old Landry Carter’s first robbery. Carter is charged with four counts of armed robbery and one count of first degree murder.
More flooding is a possibility in New Orleans, as a turbine at a pumping station caught fire last night and heavy rains are in the forecast. Governor John Bel Edwards has signed an emergency declaration for Orleans Parish.
3rd district Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins is glad President Donald Trump is taking a stand against continued threats from North Korea. Higgins says previous administrations have dealt with aggression from North Korea with a, “kick the can down the road” mentality, but it’s about time to get serious. Higgins believes Mr. Trump is carefully targeting exactly what would needed to hit, and hit hard.
In Livingston Parish, Walker Police are looking for eyewitnesses who saw a 26-year-old woman jump out of a moving pickup truck Wednesday night as it was traveling on an I-12 entrance ramp. Captain John Sharp says 26-year-old Whitney Cotton is in critical condition. Foul play however is not suspected.
An Acadiana High School student is in trouble with the law and the school he attends after he allegedly repeatedly punched a school safety officer. Police say 17-year-old Robert Hebert of Duson got in trouble in the first place, because his hair was dyed red and in violation of the school’s dress code.
As Louisianans gear up to watch the upcoming solar eclipse, doctors remind the public to do so safely. On August 21, a total solar eclipse will pass over the country from Oregon to South Carolina. Executive Director of the Optometry Association of Louisiana Dr. James Sandifer says in Louisiana, only a partial eclipse will be visible, which is why it’s so important for viewers to protect their eyes. Sandifer says the only safe way to view the partial eclipse is with approved eclipse glasses. He says looking directly at the sun can damage or destroy the photoreceptors in the retina. He says that can cause permanent damage to the eye.
The Saints lost their season opener to the Cleveland Browns last night.. the final 20 to 14.
Former LSU Coach Les Miles says he’ll be a member of the media this football season. The mad hatter’s first assignment is with the SEC Network as he’ll serve as a guest analyst on SEC Nation, which will be in Arlington, Texas on September 2nd for the Michigan-Florida game.
LSU’s Kevin Toliver is the likely starting cornerback opposite of Donte Jackson. Coming out of high school in Jacksonville, Florida, Toliver was considered as one of the nation’s top corner prospects. In two seasons at LSU, Toliver has one interception and missed the final four games of last season due to a shoulder injury. Toliver says he’s ready to be an impact player this season.
News for Thursday 081017
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria City Marshal Terence Grines faces arraignment date Aug. 24 on a felony malfeasance in office charge. Grines was arrested on June 23rd outside the Alexandria City Court complex after a multi-jurisdictional investigation. In addition to the malfeasance charge, Grines was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance II with intent to distribute, resisting an officer with force or violence and illegal carrying of a weapon.
NOAA now says there is a 60 percent chance of an above-normal Atlantic Hurricane season, up from May’s prediction of 45 percent. NOAA lead hurricane season forecaster Gerry Bell says wind patterns are conducive for storm development and sea surface temperatures are well above normal. The prediction now calls for 14-19 named storms.
State officials are starting the conversation about how to address the looming fiscal cliff in 2018 when more than a billion dollars in temporary taxes expire. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne has been spreading the word at meetings around the state to bring the issue to the public’s attention. He says if lawmakers decided against replacing the $1.3 billion in revenue that is set to go away in July, the administration would be forced to reduce funding by 20 percent for every area of state government. He says that would be drastic for higher education, healthcare, prisons, and public schools.
Despite a slight decrease in revenue, the Louisiana Lottery reported its third best year ever. Lottery spokesperson Dustin Annison says the corporation brought in nearly $455 million in revenue for the 2017 fiscal year. This year, the lottery saw a $53 million decline in revenue from the previous year. But still, the Louisiana Lottery transferred nearly $160 million to the state treasury this year for public education.
The search continues for the gunman who fatally shot a Tennessee truck driver during a robbery as the victim was changing a tire in a parking lot on Tuesday morning. Sgt. Don Coppola says 49-year-old Keith Odom was shot after he turned over his possessions to the robber. Odom died at a local hospital.
Bossier Parish authorities say three 18-wheelers collided with each other on Highway Two near Plain Dealing Wednesday morning. Deputies say it appears the first 18-wheeler stopped for another vehicle and the other two trucks hit the first one from behind. The truck drivers suffered only minor injuries.
School is back many students, which means school buses are returning to the road. State Farm spokesperson Kip Diggs reminds drivers it is never safe to pass a stopped school bus. Louisiana law requires vehicles to stop 30 feet away when children are getting on or off the bus.
Louisiana’s public schools performed only slightly better on ACT scores compared to last year, but with an average of 19.6 — that’s up from 19.1 since 2013.But, still below the national average. State Superintendent of Education John White says African Americans did better statewide, scoring an average of 17.5 this year. The number of students who qualify for TOPS also grew at every level of the award this year.
Louisiana parents of autistic children have a new resource after the Baton Rouge Area Foundation helped to launch a website full of information about benefits and resources. Director of civic leadership initiatives Lauren Jumonville says they hope to help point parents in the right direction. Jumonville says they went around the state cataloging all the resources that exist for people with disabilities. She says the website La.ExceptionalLives.org offers a variety of resources, including traditional ones like physicians and therapists, as well as others.
South Louisiana authorities are still looking for Lafayette businessman Lawrence Michael Handely, who is wanted in the kidnapping of a woman. Detectives believe two men who drowned when evading West Baton Rouge Parish Deputies were involved in the crime. How all of this connects remains unknown at this time. The Lafayette Police Department has only said that the woman’s abduction stemmed from an ongoing domestic dispute” between her and Handley.
A Lafayette Parish grand jury has indicted a man with murder in connection with the death of Jacqueline “Daisy Lynn” Landry. 22-year-old Malik Davis is accused of second degree murder. Family members and friends still cannot find Daisy Lynn since she was last seen in May. Little else is known about this case, including Davis’ involvement and what may have happened that lead to the murder charge and indictment.
A federal judge has blocked a current state law saying foreign born applicants can’t obtain a marriage license without a birth certificate. A Lafayette man who was born in an Indonesian refugee camp and doesn’t have a birth certificate filed a suit, because he’s unable to marry his fiancée.
The NCAA says Grambling State will not have to vacate its 2011 SWAC Football Championship. An internal investigation determined Grambling’s athletic program used ineligible players in eleven sports from 2010 to 2015, but it has determined that the 2011 championship team didn’t use ineligible players so the title will not be vacated. Grambling went 8-4 that season and beat Alabama A-and-M in the championship game.
News for Wednesday 080917
By Dave Graichen
This school year, some Louisiana teachers will face evaluations that are tied, in part, to student test scores. A poor rating could cost teachers their tenure and even their job. Brigitte Neiland with the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry says the principal will determine which teachers remain in the classroom. About 15,000 of the state’s 50,000 educators will be reviewed by the Value Added Model.
The controversy over how the pumps operated in the city of New Orleans during the weekend flooding event is not over. The city council called a meeting just before Sewerage & Water Board Executive Director Cedric Grant announced his retirement saying he’d learned his staff hadn’t been honest about the event. The board originally said 7 pumps were out of service the night of the storm, but then came back and said 14, including 8 drainage pumps, were not working.
Mandeville Police have arrested a 25-year-old man accused of brutally raping a 53-year-old woman inside her home. Chief Gerald Sticker says they were able to catch up with Ronald Moore Jr. of Lacombe at his home after releasing to the media a photo of him on surveillance video.
West Baton authorities say they are certain the two bodies recovered from the Intracoastal Canal Monday are the suspects wanted in a Lafayette kidnapping. The Sheriff’s department announced yesterday the two males were speeding down the shoulder of I-10 when the interstate was closed. After a chase, their van got stuck, and the two fled on foot, apparently drowning in the canal.
A man in Caddo Parish has been charged with cruelty to animals after allegedly fatally shooting his neighbor’s dachshund, because he thought it was an alligator. Caddo Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Bobby Herring says the dog was found in the pond with multiple gunshot wounds. Tommy Collinsworth Jr told cops he thought the dog was an alligator.
The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Coastwide Nutria Control Program is looking for south Louisiana landowners and hunters to help combat the invasive rodent. LDWF Biologist Catherine Normand says these pests can cause serious damage to an already vulnerable coast. Normand says the goal is to reduce Nutria induced marsh damage by removing about 400-thousand rodents per season.
Livingston Parish students and teachers are looking forward to a year of normalcy as they begin classes today just days ahead of the one year anniversary of the August flood. School superintendent Rick Wentzel says crews worked extensively on 8 flood damaged campuses throughout the summer. Three of those are complete, but five in the Denham Springs area will not be fully rebuilt for some time.
Contract details are out for new LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade. His six year deal will pay him 15 million dollars, that’s two-point-five million a season. The 34-year-old will be one of the highest paid basketball coaches in the SEC. Wade is also eligible for bonuses based on performance on the hardwood and in the classroom. The contract also does not include a buyout.
The Saints did not practice yesterday as they are two days away from the preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns. But a depth chart has been released. Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram are listed as co-starters at running back. It’s unclear how much they’ll play against the Browns, along with quarterback Drew Brees.
LSU Senior Quarterback Danny Etling likes the progress the Tigers are making during preseason camp. The Bayou Bengals are in training camp mode for the rest of this week and next and then school starts on Monday August 21st. Etling says the goal is to get better every day.
News for Tuesday 080817
By Dave Graichen
Today Governor John Bel Edwards is holding a meeting with business and industry leaders to devise a plan for addressing a looming $1.3 billion fiscal cliff when temporary taxes expire in 2018. Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com says the governor is looking to hear from the business community what types of policy changes may be palatable, specifically tax increases. He suspects the governor is looking for a starting point.
New Orleans officials say the roughly 10 inches of rain that fell on Saturday was too much for the city’s pump stations to handle. Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board Cedric Grant says the pumps were running at full capacity, despite the rising flood waters. The system is designed to pump out one inch of water in the first hour and half an inch for each subsequent hour.
Authorities in Natchitoches Parish announced yesterday a body found under a Natchitoches Parish bridge Sunday has been tentatively identified as 31-year-old Anthony Rainey. Rainey has been the subject of a missing person’s case in Red River Parish since July 31. Officials now are investigating the death as a homicide.
Small business owners impacted by the 2016 floods are not completing the flood recovery survey as quickly as state officials had hoped. Lasonta Davenport with the Office of Community Development says only 423 businesses have completed the survey that will help shape the small business loan program. The survey is online at restore.la.gov.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says the inaugural Flambeau Fest coming to Ascension Parish is another example of how tourism is alive and well in the Bayou State. He says the October 7 and 8 shows could begin another tradition that one day attracts visitors the way Jazzfest and Bayou Country Superfest do.
LSU will give some members of the faculty and staff a raise in the fall semester. The school is giving each department a 3-percent merit pay raise pool and each department head will determine how the raises will dispersed. University President F. King Alexander said in a letter that this is an effort to keep and attract quality talent to LSU.
West Baton Rouge officials have reportedly recovered a body from the Intracoastal Canal. The body was discovered by kids on a wave board who contacted authorities. Cause of dead has not yet been determined. The male body has not been identified, but the sheriff says it’s possible it could be one of the suspects wanted for an aggravated kidnapping in Lafayette. The kidnapped woman was reportedly found safe in Baton Rouge early yesterday.
A Sabine parish mother facing a murder charge after her two-year-old drowned and then tested positive for methamphetamine. Authorities say 23-year-old Christina Rivers’ son Mason was found in a neighbors Jacuzzi in June. She reportedly told authorities she left her son alone for a brief time, but autopsy confirmed he was in the hot tub for at least an hour.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is hoping to get more tourists to visit the rural areas of the Bayou State. That’s why he’s scheduled meetings in small Louisiana towns to find the best way to promote local attractions. He says these rural areas don’t always have the money or expertise to market their town. Meetings will be held in Tallulah, Opelousas, Houma, and Hammond. Nungesser has already started promoting the rural areas of the state with the Louisiana Trails and Byways, which seeks to motivate travelers to take the backroads and see what the state has to offer. Nungesser says with more direct international flights into New Orleans, they need to find a way to get those visitors out of the big cities and into other parts of the state
Congress has recessed for the summer and many lawmakers are disappointed not much was accomplished. U.S Senator John Kennedy believes some good was done with the approval of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. But he says his biggest disappointment was the failing to repeal and replace Obamacare by one vote. He says in the fall, Congress has a lot of work to accomplish.
LSU made the top 20 in Forbes’ annual list of colleges that dominate athletically and academically. Stanford came in at No. 1.
USA Today has released its 2017 conference projections, and Coach O and LSU are expected to have a great season. The Tigers are picked second in the West, with a projected 10-2 overall record and 6-2 conference record.
Louisiana Tech is picked to win the C-USA West with a 8-4 overall record and 6-2 in conference.
UL-Lafayette got 7th place in the Sun Belt with a projected 5-7 record overall, and 4-4 in conference action.
News for Monday 080717
By Dave Graichen
A 20-year-old Alexandria man has been arrested on charges of second degree murder in connection to the fatal shooting a 29-year-old man Friday. Police say Desmond Harris was found by police at around 7 p.m. Friday, after they responded to a shooting that took place just before 2 in the afternoon. Bond for Harris has been set at $1 million.
Authorities in Natchitoches Parish are working to identify a body that was found under a bridge Sunday afternoon. Authorities say it appears the body had been there for several days.
State police say a DeRidder man had been issued his 4th DWI after he caused a crash while driving with a toddler in his car Saturday on Interstate 210 between Sulphur and Lake Charles. Brandon Fowler, who had his 2-year-old child in the vehicle with him, showed signs of impairment after he side swiped another vehicle.
With some New Orleans neighborhoods seeing 8 to 10 inches of rain falling in just a few hours Saturday the rainfall overwhelmed the ability of the City’s 24 pump stations to keep up, though all were operating, city officials said Sunday. The neighborhoods of Lakeview, Gentilly, Mid City and Treme were hit the hardest. City officials warn of more potential flooding in storms forecasted for today.
Today is the 90th birthday of former four-term Governor Edwin Edwards and he’s still going strong. During an appearance on Talk Louisiana, Edwards credits his long life to good genes, as two of his grandparents lived to be over 100-years-old. The Silver Fox says he’s lived a blessed and wonderful life. A birthday bash for the former governor is planned for August 12th at the Renaissance Hotel in Baton. The Cajun Prince has five children and has been married three times.
The state Department of Health reminding parents to make sure their kids are up to date on their vaccinations as the new school year approaches. LDH Immunization director Doctor Frank Welch says students entering sixth grade also need a meningitis vaccine. Louisiana law requires children age four or older entering kindergarten, pre-k or Head Start programs to receive vaccines for polio, measles, mumps, hepatitis and chicken pox.
More students are getting their education at home instead of traditional classrooms. According to the state department of education, 26,000 students are homeschooled, while 4,000 more are enrolled in online charter schools. About 9,000 more students studied at home in 2016 than in 2010.
Two years from today, candidates will be qualifying for the governor’s race. So who will challenge Governor John Bel Edwards? Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Republicans are waiting to see what US Senator John Kennedy will do. Kennedy is 65-years-old and Pinsonat says if Kennedy wants to run for governor, it’s now or never.
If Kennedy doesn’t run, Pinsonat says Edwards’ chances of reelection look better. He says several congressmen, like Garret Graves, could raise plenty of campaign dollars, but he expects the back up front runner for the GOP would be Attorney General Jeff Landry.
President Donald Trump has nominated state Judge Terry Doughty of Rayville and Lafayette attorney Michael Juneau as federal judges in the Western District of Louisiana. There are now four vacancies in that district now that Patricia Minaldi retired to seek treatment for alcoholism.
The state legislative auditor has started an investigation into the East Baton Rouge Mayor-President’s office. There are allegations Sharon Weston-Broome’s administration misused federal grant money for a crime-fighting program. U.S. Senator John Kennedy also wants more information from the mayor’s office on this subject.
The hurricane forecast team at Colorado State increased their storm prediction total by one and now anticipate 11 named storms for the remainder of the season. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the total number of storms has been increased to 16. He says this isn’t a big change but it still shows conditions are conducive for an active season. The forecast says eight of those eleven storms will become hurricanes.
The LSU Athletic Hall of Fame Committee will honor football legend Dr. Billy Cannon with a statue on the Baton Rouge campus. Cannon hopes the statue looks like he did in his glory days, young with a lot of hair. Cannon won the university’s only Heisman in 1959.
News for Friday 080417
By Dave Graichen
The trial of a man accused in a fatal DWI crash last December that killed a child has been set for November. Keaton Spurlin pled not guilty Thursday during a pretrial conference in the 9th Judicial District Court. Spurlin is charged with DWI, vehicular homicide, five counts of vehicular negligent injury, having an open container, careless operation, running a stop sign and not wearing a seat belt. The deadly accident occurred on Dec. 28, 2016, near the intersection of Bayou Rapides Road and Vandenburg Drive. Authorities say Keaton hit the rear of a van carrying six members of a family coming home from church.
Parents stocking up on back-to-school supplies can save a few dollars this weekend during the annual sales tax holiday. Byron Henderson with the state Department of Revenue says most purchases are only subject to three percent of the state sales tax this Friday and Saturday.
National Federation of Independent Business State Director Dawn Starns says she hopes small businesses will see an increase in business but it was more beneficial for retailers when the law allowed for tax free weekend. She says they hope legislators will one day change it back so consumers can have a couple of days to purchase items tax free.
A federal lawsuit filed in Baton Rouge alleges two Orleans Parish inmates were kept in jail for five months after their sentences were served. Attorney Emily Washington with the Macarthur Justice Center says both men, in jail on a first offense, were eligible for release in August 2016, but they stayed in the River Bend Detention Center in Lake Providence until January of this year. Washington says officials knew these men were supposed to be released, but they took no action to do so.
The body of a 7-year-old boy was found in Shreveport yesterday, after he was swept away in a storm drain on Tuesday. The little boy was last seen playing near a ditch just before heavy rains began.
US Senator John Kennedy sent a letter to East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome about misuse of federal dollars. Kennedy says the BRAVE funds are meant to reduce crime and support police, but instead they’re going to people like Arthur Silky Slim Reed, who recently said justice was served when a gunman killed three police officers. A spokeswoman for Mayor’s Office said the mayor received the letter and “will be in communication with the senator.”
Four teenagers connected to the shooting death of a 61-year-old Walker man are in the Livingston Parish jail today after they were arrested in Texas. Rick McBride was fatally shot in his home when two individuals attempted to steal money and guns from him on July 23rd. A fifth person and possible gunman was also arrested in late July.
Crawfish have been found in Michigan and that state’s Department of Natural Resources is not happy. They say the red swamp crayfish damage earthen structures and compete aggressively for food and habitat, disrupting the food chain for many species in the water. Crawfish are extremely fertile and can lay up to 600 eggs at a time and reproduce twice a year. That means, there could be the chance of a Red Swamp Crayfish population becoming established in Michigan.
News for Thursday 080317
By Dave Graichen
One person is dead and a Red River Parish Sheriff’s deputy was injured during a shootout at a home south of Coushatta Wednesday morning. A state police spokesperson says the deputy was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries, while the male suspect died at the hospital. The deputy visited the home in reference to a welfare concern.
The APD reports a Pineville woman has been arrested after she left a voicemail threatening to kill everyone at a local advocacy group. 74-year-old Charlotte Webb, left a lengthy voicemail with the group's office that included "multiple, profane threats of killing everyone in the office." Webb was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention center, but was later released on a property bond.
The Alexandria Police Department now is asking residents of the Good Earth subdivision to check their vehicles and report anything that might have been stolen.
Police say a homeowner detained a burglary suspect for police after he woke up to find a man inside his truck. The suspect, one of three charged after being captured early Tuesday, later was found to have a suspected stolen gun and ammunition in his backpack.
22-year-old Tyler Alexander of Alexandria was arrested yesterday after he led APD officers on a short chase. Authorities say Alexander was jealous that his girlfriend gave someone a ride and reacted by kidnapped her. Police found Alexander hiding under a shed. Alexander was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center, charged with disturbing the peace, domestic abuse battery and a long list of other charges.
After posting racial comments on Facebook, the Assistant Police Chief in the Acadia Parish town of Estherwood has resigned. Welsh referred to Muslim women as trash bags and posted racially charged memes.
Membership has been announced for a task force that will examine the 350-million dollar TOPS scholarship program for the first time since it was established 20 years ago. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish will chair the committee. He says the panel consists of an array of lawmakers representing both parties and all corners of the state.
The task force’s first meeting is September 6
Baton Rouge police arrest a 42-year-old man for the stabbing death of his 41-year-old ex-girlfriend. Sara Hernandez was found dead in her Baton Rouge home on Sunday. Sergeant Don Coppola says detectives quickly learned Miquel Angel Lopez was their main suspect and they learned he suffered injuries during the attack. Authorities believe Lopez stayed with Hernandez’s body 10 to 14 hours before fleeing the scene.
Citing money problems, The Salvation Army homeless shelter in Monroe, the only one in the area, will close later this month. Spokesperson Jon Kalahar says church services and weekly prayer meetings will continue, and so will basic social services. About 30 homeless people sleep at the shelter every night.
This year’s “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico is the biggest one yet. LSU scientist Nancy Rabalais says the oxygen-depleted region is about 8,800 square miles, which is about the size of New Jersey. She says many of the stations, especially those close to the shore, were close to no oxygen. Rabalais says the area may actually be even bigger, but they had to stop mapping before reaching the western edge.
U.S District Judge Patricia Minaldi of Lake Charles is retiring. The federal judge took a medical leave in December to receive alcoholism treatment. According to court records, Minaldi’s drinking got so bad that a colleague asked the court to rule she cannot take care of herself. Minaldi said a few months ago that her alcoholism didn’t impact the outcome of her cases.
Officials with the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office say the body of 13-year-old Jarrett Varnado of Franklinton was recovered from Gray’s Creek. Officials say the boy was swimming when he disappeared below the water.
The massive construction project on Bourbon Street is two months behind schedule. New Orleans Public Works Director Mark Jernigan blames a rainy June and the exact location of almost all the utility lines underneath the historic street were either missing or inaccurately depicted on their plans. It might be until Halloween before all of the work is completed.
News for Wednesday 080217
By Dave Graichen
The Town Talk reports a deal should be in place soon to turn over management of the Rapides Parish Coliseum to a private company. The Police Jury voted Tuesday to authorize a group of legal counsel Greg Upton, jurors Craig Smith and Joe Bishop and parish Treasurer Bruce Kelly to negotiate a contract with SMG to manage the Coliseum.
Since the Police Jury recently agreed to the broad strokes of a deal with SMG, a contract is expected to be quickly presented to jurors for final approval. SMG executives hope to officially take over management by Sept. 1.
Louisiana’s domestic abuse laws now include dating partners, as a new law took effect yesterday. Previously these abusers could only be charged with simple battery, but the new law creates the crime of battery of a dating partner.
LSU says they may have found a new live mascot at a sanctuary in Florida. Ginger Guttner with the LSU Vet School says the prospect is a nine-month-old, 160 pound male tiger. Guttner a major renovation project on the school’s Tiger habitat is nearing competition. She says if LSU gets the Tiger, it will be donated by the rescue facility, so no cost to the university.
The resident of the third home to be completed under the Restore Louisiana program is about to be home. Lillie Gumm of Baton Rouge was one of the first people to complete the flood recovery survey at restore.la.gov. She says throughout this ordeal, she’s learned about taking deep breaths. Money from the homeowner assistance program first went to the elderly, disabled and low-income individuals.
The author of the failed gasoline tax increase proposal says the state needs to look at other ways to repair the state’s decrepit roads and bridges. Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter recommended a 17-cent gas tax hike, but the support was not there in the legislature. Carter says next year’s session is general and no tax bills can be filed. The following year is a fiscal session, but taxes are unlikely to pass during an election year. He says until lawmakers find a way to fund the state’s growing infrastructure needs, the problems will only get worse.
Two Minnesota teens are well on their way to becoming the youngest team to kayak the entire Mississippi River. Matt Rens and Jesse Richard are paddling through the Bayou. The pair has raised a little over 4-thousand dollars to help fund cleaner water in a village in a third world country.
Colorado authorities say a Baton Rouge area fire captain committed suicide in Durango, Colorado. The coroner says 48-year-old Rudi Shoats died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Shoats was wanted in Mississippi for fatally shooting his wife. 45-year-old Khristie Rollins Shoats was found dead in a vehicle outside her in Woodville, Mississippi on Sunday.
More and more women are heading to court, as the American Bar Association finds an uptick in the number of female attorneys. Women account for 35 percent of lawyers in the state, a 7 percent jump since 2004. President of the Louisiana State Bar Association, Dona Renegar (Doh-na, not Donna) credits a more accommodating environment for female attorneys with family responsibilities. Baton Rouge is slightly ahead of the national average with females representing 38 percent of attorneys in the city.
A survey finds most parents’ believe their children are performing better than what their test scores actually show. Nine in 10 parents believe their children are at or above grade level, but data shows the number is really closer to one-third. Public Relations Chair for the Louisiana PTA Stacey Simpson says with the school year about to start, review your student’s test results and to help improve your child’s academic achievement make sure you stay involved. For a full list of the Super 5 Back-to-School Power Moves visit be a learning hero.org
During a question and answer session with season ticket holders, Jets safety and former LSU Tiger Jamal Adams said the football field is a perfect place to die. Adams made the comment after he was asked about player safety. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was part of the Q-and-A session.
LSU Quarterback Danny Etlin says he feels a lot better than he did in the spring. Etling underwent a back procedure earlier this year and the senior from Indiana says he’s close to 100-percent…
News for Tuesday 080117
By Dave Graichen
Six people have been charged with helping an Alexandria man after he escaped from the Rapides Parish Courthouse last week. 37 year old Kenneth Johnson was captured two days later in Lafayette after a traffic stop. All six were charged with being an accessory after the fact, criminal conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Two were also charged with parole violations.
A new law takes effect today that seeks to curb the litter problem in Louisiana. It lowers the fine for littering from $1,000 to $900. Fines for littering were doubled in 2015, which triggered jury trial provisions that made enforcement less likely. However, the new law doubles the amount of community service time for a new offender.
Other laws set to go into effect today…Children can bring sunscreen to school without a doctor’s note. An unmarried minor seeking an abortion will not only need a notarized note from their guardian, but proof of identity as well. And portions of Governor John Bel Edwards’ criminal justice reform package takes effect.
Drivers should no longer receive speeding tickets in the mail from hidden speed cameras thanks to a new law that goes into effect today. New Orleans Senator Troy Carter’s legislation requires signs to be posted ahead of speed enforcement camera in order to collect on the fine. He says if the goal of these cameras is really to stop speeders, municipalities should have no problem posting warning signs.
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy met with White House officials Monday afternoon to discuss proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Politico reports the Cassidy-Graham proposal would maintain protections for individuals with pre-exisiting conditions, keep most of the taxes connected to the Affordable Care Act, send federal health care funds to states in block grants, but end the requirement all Americans must buy health insurance or pay a tax.
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency has proposed adding the American Creosote Deridder, an environmentally contaminated site in Deridder, to the Superfund National Priorities Site. Greg Langley with the state Department of Environmental Quality says once this Beauregard Parish site is added to the list, it’s in line to receive federal funding that can go towards cleanup efforts. The state currently has 27 other Superfund sites.
Most juvenile killers will no longer be eligible to receive life sentences without the chance for parole, as a new law goes into effect today. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor says the law was needed because the US Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that murderers convicted as juveniles could not be sentenced to life without parole. Claitor notes that just because a lifer is given a chance for parole, it doesn’t mean they will be released.
A former Livingston Parish teacher admits to having a sexual relationship with a teen student. 33-year-old Lynsie Pendarvis was arrested last June when police discovered her relationship with a 15-year-old student at Walker Freshman High School. District Attorney Scott Perrilloux says Pendarvis pleaded guilty to all charges. Pendarvis received a five-year-prison sentence, which was suspended and she must register as a sex offender for 15 years.
It was a deadly weekend in Baton Rouge. Sgt. Don Coppola with the Baton Rouge Police Department says two teens were killed when a drug deal went wrong on Sunday evening. He says a woman was also found stabbed to death in a home on Sunday morning.
A school teacher from the Baton Rouge area and a principal from Acadiana are the Louisiana State Teacher and Principal of the Year, which is awarded annually by the state Department of Education. Kimberly Eckert, a 9th grade English teacher at Brusly High School in West Baton Rouge, received the teacher of the year honor. This fall, Eckert will enter her 10th year of teaching. Tommy Byler, the principal of North Vermilion High School, received the honor of Principal of the Year. Byler has been in education for 26-years.
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