KSYL Local News Archives for 2013-06

News For Friday 06/28/13


News for Friday 062813

By Dave Graichen

 

Regarding the buzz surrounding Bobby Jindal  joining  the  US Senate race,  the  Governor's  political  adviser says there is no interest there at all. An article in La-politics.com  that  said the decision for Jindal to join a race with Democrat Mary Landrieu seems obvious. Publisher John Maginnis said running for president would  be  a long shot for Jindal.

 

President  Obama  has  nominated New Orleans attorney Kenneth Polite (PO-leet)  to  be the next  US  Attorney  for  the  state's  Eastern District. Polite  would replace Jim Letten, who stepped down earlier this year. Senator  David  Vitter  issued  a  statement  saying  he would  have preferred  a  more  seasoned  leader  from the US Attorney's  office (Polite is 37) but indicates he will support Polite's nomination.

 

Tonight is the grand opening for the 23-million dollar Louisiana Sports  Hall of Fame in Natchitoches. The building is the new home to great  memorabilia from Louisiana's rich sports history. Chairman of the  Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, Doug Ireland, says it's must see for that  fan who loves the Saints, Tigers or any other Louisiana team. Ireland  says the large complex will also contain the Northwest  Louisiana History Museum, which features artifacts from early native  American civilizations...

 

Yesterday was National HIV testing day, which has special importance in Louisiana. The  Bayou State ranks number one in the US for HIV cases for people 13-24  years  old.  Doctor Fred Lopez with the LSU Health Sciences  Center for Infectious Diseases  says  he's  not  surprised based on surveys  that  show  high sexual activity among high school students. Baton Rouge and New Orleans are  also two of the top three cities in

the country for new HIV Infection Diagnoses for people of all ages.

 

Talk about a cold case, A Lake Charles grand jury indicts a man for the murder  of  his wife 51 years ago. 73-year-old Felix Vail is accused of killing his wife, Mary  Vail,  in October of 1962. Her body was found in the Calcasieu River.

 

The Terrebonne Sheriff's  office  has arrested 11 people for dealing drugs  out  of  3  convenience  stores.  The   six-month  covert  drug operation  may have stopped a half million dollars  from  going  to Yemen. The Drug  Enforcement  Administration  has no indication that the money is tied to terrorist activity but the  investigation is ongoing.

 

Federal lawmakers and officials discussed Thursday increasing the level of safety inspectors and improving enforcement under existing laws in the wake of recent plant explosions in Geismar and West, Texas. The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing focused on learning more about what caused the Geismar incident and on what more could be done to prevent explosions like the one in Texas.

 

State  Police  say  a  motorcyclist in Lake Charles died following a crash in eastern Calcasieu  Parish.  They  say  25-year-old  Zachery David  Manuel  began  to  pass three cars on a highway when the lead vehicle made a left turn and  his bike crashed into the driver’s side door. Manuel was taken to an area  hospital  where  he died from his injuries.

 

State  Police  say  a  27-year-old  man  from Slidell died after his motorcycle  slammed into a car that didn't  yield  in  a  turn  onto Highway 190  in  St.  Tammany  Parish.  They say Kiel Rasmussen was thrown from his bike and killed, the driver of the vehicle was charged with failure to yield at a stop sign resulting in a death and driving with no driver’s license.

 

A  13-year-old  boy  in  the  town of Stonewall is recovering from a vicious attack by a neighbor's  pit bull. The dog was tied to a tree with no food present and no sign warning the dog would bite. The boy required 300 stitches. The dog has been destroyed.

 

A 9-year-old boy from baker drowned in a mobile home park’s swimming pool Thursday morning.  The child was alone in the pool when he was found and pulled out of the water about by an adult. He was pronounced dead a short time later.

 

Sports..

 

LSU  is  No.  5  in  the  final  Baseball America magazine  rankings released Thursday . This marks the Tigers'  fourth  Top 10 finish in the past  six  seasons and their second Top 5 finish in  the  past  five years.  By the way, LSU is No. 1 in the final 2013 college baseball attendance rankings, marking the  18th  straight  season in which the Tigers have led the nation in total attendance at baseball games

 

Louisiana Tech University  Athletic  Director Bruce Van  De Velde announced he is stepping down effective  July 1st. Van  De  Velde  has  served  as the Bulldog AD since 2010. Tech officials say they are immediately  beginning the process of forming a search committee to find candidates who could assume leadership of

the athletics department.

News For Thursday 06/27/13


News for Thursday 062713

By Dave Graichen

 

The Rapides Parish  Sheriff's  office  announces  the  arrest  of  a Marksville  man who allegedly had a loaded gun in a backpack that he was attempting  to  get  on  a plane at the Alexandria International Airport. Lt. Tommy Carnline says  TSA  agents found the weapon while 25-year-old Rashad Hamideh was going through security. Carnline says the investigation is still  ongoing,  but  they  don't believe this was an intentional act.

 

Louisiana has the second highest  dental  shortage  in  the country. That's  according to the Pew Research Group, who says 24-percent  of the state's population is underserved. Pew Researcher Jane Koppleman says another  big  concern is that more than 40-percent of Louisiana dentists are older than 55. Koppleman says one possible  solution  is to train a dental hygienist to do more basic procedures.

 

With full page ads in three of the nation’s largest newspapers,   BP is claiming businesses have  been  encouraged  to  submit thousands  of claims for inflated or non-existing loses. In the ads, BP is also threating  lawyers  that  they intend to recover some of the multibillion dollar settlement with  an  appeal  to a judges' ruling over the massive 2010 oil spill in the gulf.

 

The U-S Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is holding a  hearing today to look into the Williams Olefins plant explosion in  Geismar that killed two and injured dozens more earlier this month.  State and federal officials are still probing what might have caused  the deadly blast June 13th.

 

The Louisiana Department of Economic Development says a big job fair  hosted by Edison Chouest (Shwest) Offshore is going to be held in  Houma tomorrow. LED Secretary Stephen Moret says Edison Chouest is one  of the many companies that continues to expand as a result of the  great deepwater work going on in the Gulf of Mexico. Moret says the job fair seeks applicants interested in skilled hourly  positions at Edison Couest Offshore's LaShip shipyard in Houma. He  says the facility is looking to hire between 250-500 employees in the  next six to eight months.

 

The Jindal Administration announced yesterday rising interest rates could spell a $65 million savings loss for a refinancing built into the state’s operating budget. The loss would not affect the $25 billion state spending plan for the fiscal year that starts next week,  assuming current projections hold. However, it would mean fewer dollars for the budget in future years.

 

The 140-member Louisiana Hospital Association has asked the Jindal administration for data it used to justify making more than $50 million in health care cuts, mostly in Medicaid — the government insurance program for the poor. Department of Health and Hospitals officials announced the cuts last week, stating that without the action the agency would run a shortfall at current operating levels in the fiscal year beginning next week. In addition, the new budget reduces the number of people eligible under Medicaid. While other hospital-based initiatives have also cut costs,

 

After receiving several complaints, a Metairie moving  company,  has been  charged with extortion of its customers. This has prompted the Public Service Commission to request greater authority in regulating the moving  and  storage  industry  in  Louisiana. PCS Chairman Eric Skrmetta  says The  company  was  raising  its  rates after picking  up  costumers' belongings and refusing to release  them  until  the higher rate was

paid.

 

Gay  activists  in  Louisiana  are celebrating Wednesday’s  Supreme Court rulings concerning gay marriage.  The  nation's  highest court ruled that  legally married same-sex couples should get the  same  federal benefits  as heterosexual couples. Sarah Jane Brady, director of the Forum for Equality in Louisiana, says this is a huge victory for the LGBT community. The  Supreme  Court  also handed down a ruling that allows  for  gay marriages  to  take place  in  California.  Neither  of  these  decisions  impact  Louisiana's  ban  on  same  sex marriages.

 

State Police  have  made  eight arrests in an allegedly staged crash ring out of Lafayette Parish. They say these individuals involved in defrauding insurance companies  put young children's lives in danger by involving them in these fake car  accidents.  The  group obtained over $112,000 fraudulently. More arrests are expected.

 

At  least  one person is dead after an AmTrak train hit a vehicle in St. Martin Parish.  The Sunset Limited was en route from New Orleans to Los Angeles. The crash  occurred  at state highway 182 and highway 92 in the town of Cade. One person in the vehicle was killed. No one aboard the train is reported hurt.

 

A Cameron Parish man is under arrest; accused  of  robbing a bank in Orange,  Texas. 49-year-old Allen Miller was taken into  custody  by Calcasieu Parish deputies  when he was found in a vehicle believed used in the robbery. Miller also matched the description of the robbery suspect.

 

Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff detectives are looking for those responsible  for another A-T-M theft in the Hammond area. Sheriff's Office  spokeswoman Dawn Panepinto says the latest "smash and grab" occurred  early Wednesday morning at a convenience store.  Authorities say there have been a several similar burglaries in recent weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

News For Wednesday 06/26/13


News for Wednesday 062613

By Dave Graichen

 

US Senator Mary Landrieu made a huge announcement yesterday regarding troop  reductions at Fort Polk. The Senator says in the face of the potential  loss of 5300 troops, Fort Polk came out with a reduction  of only  about 240 troops over the next  four  years. She says the Department  of the Army is cutting 80,000 troops nationwide.  Landrieu credits the central Louisiana community's commitment of  getting the message across that the state's largest military base  needs to be kept strong and intact. She says the formation of Fort  Polk Progress and the effort to transform the region into a great  place for the Army to stay and grow, made a huge difference.

 

There's great relief here in central Louisiana over the Army's decision not  to drastically reduce the number of troops at Ft. Polk. Instead, the  Army announced the Leesville military base will only see a reduction of  240 troops over the next four years. Ft. Polk Progress chairman Mike  Reese says a team effort led to the great news.  Statistics show a troop reduction of 5300 troops at Fort Polk would have  resulted in an annual loss of $24 million dollars for the state and a  loss of more than 8 thousand jobs locally. Reese says any major  reduction of troops would have been devastating to the CenLa region.

 

Louisiana and a handful of other mostly Southern states are no longer under extra scrutiny from the federal government on voting laws and much more because of Tuesday’s high-profile U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Congress should come up with an up-to-date formula for deciding which states and localities still need federal monitoring.

 

Winnfield Police say they've made an arrest in the shooting death of rap artist Lil Snupe last week. Police Chief  Johnny  Ray  Carpenter says  Tony  Holden  turned  himself in to face charges of 1st degree murder, armed robbery and possession  of a gun by a convicted felon. Addaren Ross, also called Lil Snupe, was  considered  an up & coming

rap talent.

 

A judge has postponed the trial of a man who disappeared and was declared dead, only to resurface years later as a suspect in the slayings of his girlfriend and her daughter, because federal budget cuts are hampering the publicly funded defense team. U.S. District Judge Dee Drell in Alexandria issued a court order saying that public defenders can’t currently afford expenses for the complex, death-penalty. Thomas Steven Sanders’ trial had been set to begin, here in Alexandria, in August.

 

State  Police  say  a  37-year-old woman is behind  bars  for  human trafficking. They say Katherine  Vidrine of Lafayette allegedly took money in exchange for letting people  have  sex  with  a 12 year old child.  She  was  booked  with  trafficking  of  children for sexual purposes and principle to molestation of a juvenile.

 

There  is  a  belief  Bobby  Jindal  is position himself to run  for President in 2016, but John Maginnis of  la-politics-dot  come  says the  governor  will also consider challenging Senator Mary Landreiu. He says Jindal may  have  a  better  shot  a  winning  the US Senate seat. Congressman Bill Cassidy has already entered the race with  Landrieu but Maginnis doesn't think he has enough support with the GOP.

 

The New President and Chancellor of LSU took some time to get to know  incoming freshman this week. Dr. F. King Alexander mingled Tuesday at the university's new dining hall. He says he's impressed with  the warm  reception and the positive attitudes he seen among incoming  students.  Dr. Alexander comes to LSU from Cal State Long Beach, where he served as  chancellor. He spoke with parents of incoming students on Monday night,  and asked them to help keep their kids focused on earning a degree from  LSU.

 

National Police in Colombia say they've arrested four people for the slaying of DEA Agent James Watson last week in Bogata. Both U.S. and Colombian lawmen feel the assailants  were unaware they were robbing and killing a federal agent. Watson, who's from Richland Parish, was killed June 20th after leaving a restaurant and getting into a taxi. Two of the accused are cab drivers.

 

Nearly half of the eligible residents and families in an evacuation area affected by a sinkhole induced by a Texas Brine Co. salt dome failure last summer have agreed to company buyout offers, while the rest have more than a month to complete negotiations. Texas Brine faced a 5:30 p.m. court-imposed deadline Monday to reach out-of-court settlements with residents who had not filed suit against the company, but U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey extended that deadline on Tuesday until July 31.

 

Sports..

 

The New Orleans Pelicans will have the sixth pick in tomorrow night's  NBA Draft. General Manager Dell Demps is trying to build on last year's  draft, which saw the NBA franchise select Anthony Davis with the number  one overall pick. The experts say this year's draft does not contain players that you can  build a franchise around. But Demps says they will be able to get a  quality player with the sixth pick.

 

 

 

 

News For Tuesday 06/25/13


News for Tuesday 062513

By Dave Graichen

 

An off-duty Vernon Parish Sheriff's deputy  was  killed Monday morning in a single vehicle crash on State Highway 8 near  Leesville.  State Police says 54-year-old Deputy Steven Netherland lost control of his vehicle   in  a   construction  zone  and  ran  into  some  roadside equipment.  They  say  he was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected

from the vehicle. He died at the scene.

 

The Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual KIDS COUNT child welfare report  is out--ranking Louisiana 46th for overall child well-being. Agenda For  Children spokeswoman Teresa Falgoust (FAL-goo) says the reports ranks 16  indicators, and finds the economic picture for Louisiana children has  gotten worse in recent years. Louisiana's child poverty rate is higher than 47 other states.

 

An Alexandria man has been sentenced to 61 years in prison in the 2012 death of an Alexandria woman. Derrick Dewayne Pickens, 35, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and attempted murder charges in the death of 33-year-old Erika Davis. Pickens was sentenced last week by by Judge Thomas M. Yeager. Davis was found dead in a residence on Bertie Street in Alexandria in June 2012. Pickens turned himself in on June 5, 2012.

 

There were two domestic  related  murders within hours of each other over a bloody weekend in Crowley. Police say a man was found stabbed near his apartment stabbed in the chest  Sunday afternoon. His girlfriend was  charged  with  second degree murder in that case. Then 2  hours  later  a female was found shot  in  the head. Her husband  was also charged with second degree murder.

 

Yet more bad economic news for the Shreveport  area.   The Air Force reports the last of the A-10 fighter jets that had been stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base has now left the Bossier City facility  and moved  to  Arizona.   At one time, Barksdale was the home of 24 A-10 fighters, but Air Force  brass  recommended they be moved elsewhere. That move has costs almost 600 full and part time jobs at Barksdale.

 

The New Orleans Police Department says a 5 year old  child  is  dead after  she  accidentally  shot  herself, and the mom is behind bars. They say officers arrived to find the little girl suffering a single gunshot wound to the head and the investigation determined the child was home alone. The mother told police  she was at the grocery store at the time. She has been charged with 2nd degree murder.

 

The  Terrebonne  Parish  Sheriff's office says a man is under arrest for the murder of his brother  over  the  weekend.  They say William Loring  was  faces  second degree murder after he said he  shot  his angry brother, Ricky  Loring,  who  had  charged into his apartment. Apparently  the two had smoked crack earlier  in  the  day  and  the

victim was angry because the suspect refused to buy more drugs.

 

The state Department  of  Wildlife  and Fisheries says a 38-year-old man Gonzales man is dead after crashing his boat. They say Buddy Ray Poche last control of his vessel and  crashed  it  into  a bank near Bob's  Bayou Black Marina in Gibson. He was pronounced dead  at  the scene.

 

Residents  that  live near the Assumption Parish sinkhole had until 5:30 yesterday to accept  a  buyout offer from Texas Brine, the owner of the salt dome cavern that failed, which caused the sinkhole. Company spokesperson Sonny Cranch  says  34  of  the 91 homeowners offered a buyout have accepted. Cranch says the amount  of the buyout depended on the property involved. Cranch says it's possible the deadline could be extended.

 

Authorities  in  Monroe  now say an early morning accident Sunday  that resulted in the death  of  a  6-year  old girl may have been at least partially caused by her father getting  drunk  and then trying to drive the van they were riding in.  Police  sergeant Mark Johnson says six people were in the mini-van, including 4 children.  Another small  girl remains in critical condition at a Shreveport  hospital. Johnson  says  blood  alcohol  tests  are  still pending on Christen Foy.

 

A going away party for a New  Orleans  soldier,  about  to  be  sent overseas,  erupted  into  gunfire  early  Sunday  morning, sending 4 people to the hospital. Police say as many as 300 people were in the street for festivities, when shots rang out. Police  are seeking the shooter, who they say fired 9 shots from a .40 caliber pistol.

 

Police in Baton Rouge say the death of an 11-month-old girl over the weekend is a homicide.  A  coroner's report shows blunt force trauma to the head killed the baby,  who  also  had  other wounds in varied stages of healing. Officer says criminal charges  are expected to be filed in the case this week.

 

Bobby “Blue” Bland, a distinguished singer who blended Southern blues and soul died Sunday. Rodd Bland said his father died due to complications from an ongoing illness at his Memphis, Tenn., home. He was surrounded by relatives.  Bobby “Blue” Bland was 83.

 

News For Monday 06/24/13


News for Monday 062413

By Dave Graichen

 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, total non-farm  jobs in  Louisiana  grew  by 56-hundred between May, 2012, and May, 2013. That totals almost two  million  jobs,  just  a  few hundred off the record  high  for  the  state set in 2005, just a few  weeks  before Hurricane Katrina slammed  into  our  lives.  Private  employers  in

Louisiana added jobs for the 33rd month in a row.

 

Louisiana's Agricultural Commissioner says consumers will see prices at  the grocery store increase dramatically, if Congress can't pass a new  farm bill by the end of September. Mike Strain says without a new farm  bill, the country will have to follow the rules and regulations set in  the 1949 Farm Bill, which would not be good for anyone.  If that happens, Strain says you can expect milk to cost in the neighborhood of eight dollars a gallon.  The US Senate has approved its version of a new Farm Bill, but the House is struggling to pass one, because there's a big disagreement over  the future of the food stamp program.

 

Summer,  2013,  promises  to  be  at  least  as  hot  as  it usually is, perhaps  even  more.  State Climatologist Barry Keim says  right now, there is no El  Nino OR La Nina pattern in the Pacific Ocean to modify weather conditions  here  in  the  mid-south.  And that means something meteorologists call ENSO-neutral conditions for  the  Gulf South and southern United States.  Keim also reports rainfall should be around normal this summer, easing fears of drought conditions for farmers.

 

A new state law will allow nonviolent drug offenders to leave prison  early or avoid jail time if they complete an intensive drug treatment  program. Metairie Representative Joe Lopinto's bill, which was signed by  Governor Jindal, establishes an early release program for certain  offenders convicted on first and second offense drug charges.  The Department of Corrections says over 800 offenders would be eligible  for release under this legislation. Lopinto says the measure is also  expected to save the state six million dollars next fiscal year. Lopinto is confident the drug treatment program will help low-risk drug  offenders turn things around and become productive members of society...

 

Governor Bobby Jindal has vetoed four million dollars from the states budget  that  would  have  gone  to  home  based  services  for  the developmentally  disabled.  Jindal  said the legislature removed too much funding from the program that would  have  paid for the routine increase in the number of patients being treated through Medicaid.

The  governor  says lawmakers underfunded the health  department  by more than 20-million dollars.

 

Louisiana ranks  second  in the country in the number of claims paid by  State Farm for lightning  damage.   State  Farm  spokesman  Gary Stephenson says a whole house surge protector will help protect your home  from  lightning strikes.  Stephenson says your utility company can install it  and the device can prevent damage to your electronic

equipment.

 

Shintech  has  announced  plans  to increase  the  capacity  of  its Plaquemine  and  Addis plants by 20  to  25  percent.   The  company estimates the 500-million dollar project should create up to 500 new construction jobs  and  up  to ten new permanent jobs at the peak of building the expansions.  Construction  is scheduled to be completed

sometime in 2015.

 

The  Southern  Association  of  Colleges  and  Schools Commission on College has announced its taken Southern University  off  probation. The association and Southern have been locked in a two year back and fourth  battle  on the probation status for the school. Southern  was placed on probation  for  what the agency said was insufficient data reporting relating to how the  university  was measuring the success of its students.

 

Dale Hall, chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, died Saturday in his home while recovering from surgery last month. Hall retired from the State Police with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He also was a former assistant superintendent of State Police. Dale hall was 56.

 

State and federal investigators probing the cause of the deadly blast June 13 at the Williams Olefins plant plan to inspect a key element of the facility this week that one federal investigator said “failed catastrophically.” A U.S. Senate committee also scheduled a hearing for Thursday to look into the fire that killed two and injured 101

 

News For Friday 06/21/13


News for Friday 062113

By Dave Graichen

 

Cenla Broadcasting Welcomes Steubenville South to Alexandria  for the next three days. This year’s event though will be different with all activities taking place downtown.  Events will take place in the Alexandria Riverfront Center, CoughlinSaunders Performing Arts Center, St. Francis Xavier Cathe­dral and Emmanuel Baptist Church. Expected attendance is around 3,000. The conference is Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

 

Four LSU hospitals, including those in New Orleans and Lafayette, change from public to private partner operations Monday, but details of those and other hospital agreements remain under question. Members of the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget on Thursday pressed for information about budget commitments amid their complaints about incomplete documents and a sketchy bullet point presentation of “significant” changes to the New Orleans and Lafayette agreements. Later in the day, state Treasurer John Kennedy pressed the Jindal administration to release budget savings anticipated from each of the hospital privatizations.

 

At least two employees of the Alexandria Housing Au­thority attended Thursday’s board meeting with complaints against the current director. Fred Waller and Dana Ellis spoke on behalf of themselves and two other employees whose positions recently were eliminated. Waller has been an employee of the Alexandria Housing Authority for 21 years in various maintenance capacities, most recently as facility maintenance manager. Ellis has been an employee for eight years as the accounting technician. The layoffs will take effect on June 28. All four employees have filed an appeal through the Department of State Civil Service.

 

Upandcoming Louisiana rap artist Lil Snupe was shot and killed  in Winnfield  early  this  morning.  The 18yearold rapper, whose real name is Addarren Ross, was found shot  to  death  at  around  4  am. Police  say  they  have a suspect in the crime, but have not made an arrest and are not yet ready to identify that person.

 

A 33yearold Ball man was sentenced Thursday in federal court to 24 months in prison and four years supervised release for manufacture and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Sidney Earl Wheeler III pleaded guilty March 4. Authorities found more than 100 marijuana plants on his prop­erty.

 

One  person  is  dead  after  a  shooting  involving  a Caddo Parish Sheriff's deputy. Spokesperson Cindy Chadwick says they  received  a call  last  night  that  a  man  locked  himself inside a vehicle in Blanchard  and  threatened to harm himself.  Chadwick  says  when  a deputy arrived, the  man  kept  screaming  he  had  a  gun  and  was unwilling to show his weapon. 28 year old Joseph  Hanegan  of  Shreveport was shot once by the deputy and later died. They later learned  the  man  actually  had a tool, not a gun.

 

The U.S. House rejected its own version of the federal farm bill Thursday, which largely protected Louisiana’s sugar and rice crops, because of a partisan stalemate over food stamp funding. The Louisiana congressional delegation was divided on the vote with Reps. Bill Cassidy, Charles Boustany and Rodney Alexander backing the legislation. Reps. Steve Scalise, John Fleming, and Cedric Richmond were opposed. Many of the 62 Republicans say they voted against the measure primarily because they did not consider more than $20 billion in food stamp cuts to be enough.

 

Louisiana’s top school board has approved a funding source for a controversial new initiative aimed at offering hardtoget classes for public school students through nontraditional means. The program, which is called Course Choice, will be funded with federal dollars from and oil and gas settlement that have aided schools since 1986.

The new option was part of a series of sweeping public school changes pushed by Gov. Bobby Jindal in 2012. It was originally supposed to be funded with dollars from the Minimum Foundation Program. But the state Supreme Court struck down that source earlier this year. The funding will allow up to 4,500 enrollments,

 

State Police have arrested a man they say pointed a rifle at the State  Capitol on Wednesday. LSP spokesman Sgt. J.B. Slaton says a calledin  tip identified the man as Russell Vaughn, of Greenwell Springs. Slaton  says Vaughn had been arrested early Thursday by Baton Rouge deputies on  an unrelated charge. He has been charged with resisting an officer, because he  fled from the Capitol armed security guard, who confronted him when he allegedly aimed the bbgun at the building.

 

The Internet blog  "MoneyUnder30.com"  rates  Baton  Rouge as one of America's Top Five Cities in which to "young, broke and single". LSU and  warm winters help the Red Stick score high on the  list,  which was compiled  by  looking at the number of single adults from 1844, low unemployment and  cost  of living, and the number of bars in the

city. Austin, Texas ranked tops.  New  Orleans made the list, but at Number 7.

 

Governor Jindal  has  signed  into  law the Equal Pay for Women Act, assuring that state employees who do the same work will get the same payregardless of gender. Carrie Wooten,  with  Louisiana Progress, is somewhat surprised Mr. Jindal signed the bill, after  he vetoed a similar measure last year. She says under the new law, state workers can  still  be  paid  more  if that's based on experience, merit  or

qualifications. She says this  is  a good start, but her group hopes to see the law expanded into the private sector. In Louisiana,  women  on average  make 69cents for every dollar a male counterpart is paid.

 

Police in Bossier City are investigating  the discovery of a woman's body, not far from the area Association for  Retarded  Citizens,  of which she was a resident. The 53yearold woman's remains were found in  a bayou, about an hour after the center reported her missing. An autopsy is scheduled, but police don't suspect foul play.

 

Deputies in St. Bernard Parish acted on a tip  to  bust  a  meth lab being  run  behind  a  Chalmette  home.  They report the tipster was concerned for the wellbeing of the three  kids  in  the  home.  The children's parents were arrested, plus another woman. The kids were decontaminated, as a precaution, and taken into protective custody.

 

State licensed casinos took in more winnings  in  May than in April, and more than the total figure for May of last year.  Casinos  raked in  just  over  $214million  in  May;  nearly $18million more than April, and $10million over May 2012. MAy  to  May  figures for some casinos in western Louisiana trended downward a bit.

 

The longest running agriculturebased festival in the state gets underway today in  Ruston. The 63rd Annual Peach Festival showcases the juicy and healthy  Ruston peach. RustonLincoln Chamber of Commerce spokesperson Nancy  Bergeron says all kinds of things are happening during the twoday  festival that kicksoff at five o' clock tonight.

 

The New Orleans City Council has  voted  to bring back Hubig's Pies. They've approved a permit for the famous pie company to rebuild just a  few  blocks  from its original site where  it  burned  down  last summer. Hubig's has been a New Orleans tradition since 1921.

 

 

 

News For Thursday 06/20/13


News for Thursday 062013

By Dave Graichen

 

Six  executives of a Louisiana company have been arrested on charges of improperly storing explosives. Each faces five felony charges and five accompanying  conspiracy  counts.  State  officials  say  Explo improperly stored millions of pounds of military propellant after an explosion,  a  discovery  that  led to the evacuation of the town of

Doyline.

 

We have our second named storm  of  the  2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season.  Tropical  Storm Barry is over the Bay of  Campeche  in  the Southern Gulf and on  track  to  head  inland into Mexico; making no threat to U.S. shores.

 

Senator  David  Vitter's amendment to the federal immigration  bill, which would have  mandated  that  securing the border at Mexico be a priority in the bill, has been defeated  on  the  Senate  floor.  51 Senate  democrats  and  7  fellow  republicans voted against Vitters proposal. One of them was Florida Senator  Marco  Rubio,  one of the architects of the immigration reforms bill.

 

Governor  Bobby  Jindal signs into law a measure  that  provides  an additional one-million  dollars  in  state  money  to  help  provide services for the hearing impaired. The telecommunications Fund for the Deaf  is mostly funded by a five cent  tax  on  landline phones. But revenues have  declined  because there are fewer homes with landline service.

 

Some unfinished business in the state Legislature could result in  Louisianans being told to have a passport to get on any commercial  flight.  Office of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Stephen Campbell says a  transportation bill,  that was allowed to die on the Senate floor,  would have undone a 2008 act, passed by state lawmakers. That act stated the new federal Real ID was too intrusive. Since then, Homeland security has loosened some to the requirements and even extended the deadline for compliance. However, this fall, unless the deadline is extended again, Louisiana will have to comply. Campbell says the OMV is trying to come up with a way to do so without having to involve the legislature.

 

The LSU baseball team returned to Baton Rouge yesterday afternoon after  a shorter than expected stay at the College World Series. The  disappointment was still evident on the coaches and players' faces.  Coach Paul Mainieri wishes they could have brought home another  championship for the fans. Mainieri says he's already thinking about making a return trip to the  College World Series next season.

 

Shreveport  Police arrest a babysitter for the death of a 3-year-old girl Monday night.  Police  spokesman  Corporal  Marcus  Hines  says 32-year-old  Tarika  Wilson  was  caring  for  the  little girl, and brought her into the LSU Shreveport Hospital ER that  night. He says doctors immediately noticed sings of physical abuse, which  launched

an investigation. The child died from her injuries, and now  Wilson  is  charged  with

2nd-degree murder.

 

The town of Grand  Isle  got a bit of a scare yesterday when a large waterspout, that’s more or less a tornado over water, formed just of the coast. Police say the waterspout stayed just offshore. But, strong winds surrounding it damaged several buildings and knocked down a power line. The good news is, no one was hurt.

 

The LSU Board of Supervisors approved Wednesday an agreement lacking in financial details for the private takeover of LSU’s public hospital in Bogalusa. The agreement could also reduce the health care for women currently provided at the hospital and its clinics in the rural Washington Parish. The documents the board used included a “cost-analysis” sheet filled with blank spaces as well as hospital and equipment leases with no numbers. The name of the legal entity with which LSU and the state is contracting with is also missing.

 

Wade Lohse, formerly Acadian's most wanted man is scheduled to be in court on his vehicular  homicide charge next month. Lohse is accused of being drunk when he got  into  an  wreck that claimed the life of Cacie  Barras.  The  runaway  defendant also  faces  multiple  other charges. His lawyer reportedly  plans  to  file a motion to move the

trial  outside  of  Lafayette  Parish because of  massive  pre-trial publicity the case has received.

 

Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne's office is now responsible for overseeing  the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. Dardenne says the  move by legislators makes sense since his office is already in charge  of Louisiana's tourism marketing. Dardenne says the seafood board was very small before the BP oil spill  but has since received $30 million from the oil giant. The new law takes effect July  1st.

  

A Lake Providence man is dead  after  a  fatal crash that involve  a train  in  Ouachita Parish. State Police Troop  F  spokesman  Albert Paxton says  22-year-old  Jason  Hensley was driving his truck while towing a car and was unable to stop  before  colliding with a train. The  crash  remains  under  investigation  and alcohol  use  is  not

suspected.

 

The  state  Department  of  Transportation and Development says  the White Castle ferry is shutting  down for good on Friday. The closure comes before the planned June 28th  date  because DOTD says there is no  staff  continue  the  service  until that time  as  workers  are resigning in advance of their layoff.  The state says $1.3 million a

year is going to be saved by closing the White Castle ferry.

 

 

News For Wednesday 06/19/13


News for Wednesday 061913

By Dave Graichen

 

The LSU baseball team’s record-setting season came to an abrupt end when North Carolina eliminated the Tigers from the College World Series with a 4-2 victory Tuesday afternoon in TD Ameritrade Park. The Tigers finished the season 57-11.

 

Gov. Bobby Jindal created a stir Tuesday by encouraging Republicans “to stop the bedwetting.” Jindal penned a pep talk in Politico to point out the GOP has 30 governors and took control of the U.S. House in 2010. One snippet reads: “Let’s stop defeating ourselves, get on offense, and go kick the other guys around. If you’ve followed the news over the past month, they are certainly asking for it. The governor then launched into what “the left” wants, listing pornography, abortion, lax moral standards, the elimination of super-sized soda drinks and a government that offers jobs to everyone.

 

Jefferson Parish authorities say a 5-year-old girl is dead after her 13-year-old  half-brother  inflicted  fatal  injuries to her, while imitating  moves  he  saw  while  watching  professional  wrestling. Jefferson   Parish   Sheriff's   office   spokesperson,   Col   John

Fortunato says during the questioning, the  13-year-old  seemed  to enjoy  talking   about   the   wrestling  moves  that  lead  to  his half-sisters death. He's been charged with second degree murder.

 

Some residents in Washington Parish got a rude awakening yesterday morning as a result of  a natural gas line explosion. The blast occurred at around 5:30 near the community of Enon. Several state agencies responded and Kevin Davis,  director of the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency  Preparedness, says they are trying to determine what caused the explosion. Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal told reporters at the scene that it  looks like a bomb went off. Davis says at  point, the flames shooting up from the ruptured pipe were seen miles  away.

 

During Governor Jindal's state-tour stop yesterday in Shreveport, he  officially signed a pair of bills benefiting Hunters for the Hungry.  Bossier City Representative Jeff Thompson says one of the bills will  allow non-profit organizations to serve wild game.  Earlier this year nearly 1600 pounds of venison meat were tossed out  at a homeless shelter in Shreveport-Bossier by order of state health  officials who said hunter-taken game was not allowed to be served.  The other bill that is now law provides a checkoff box on hunting  license forms that would help fund the Hunters for the Hungry.

 

A new law signed Tuesday night by Gov. Bobby Jindal will require the annual reporting of who is getting the college scholarships awarded by people who serve on Louisiana’s higher education management boards. The Board Scholarship Reporting Act affects scholarships that members of the LSU and Southern Board of Supervisors grant.

 

This sounds like a scene from the TV series “Bates Motel”.  Vernon Parish authorities  recently received information that led to the discovery of a large field of marijuana plants in a western area of Vernon Parish. The Vernon Parish law enforcement, working with State Police, the Wildlife and Fisheries Agency, the FBI and the Louisiana National Guard, destroyed approximately 6,815 marijuana plants growing on more than two acres of land .The plants ranged in size from seedlings to three feet in height

 

A judge on Tuesday struck down several exceptions to Louisiana’s ban on juveniles possessing handguns, including a little-known provision allowing youngsters to carry handguns as long as they have written permission from a parent. Judge Pamela Taylor Johnson of East Baton Rouge Parish Juvenile Court upheld the remaining language in the ban, which forbids handgun possession among youths under the age of 17.

 

An environmental group claims that dozens of people in Ascension Parish  are complaining of physical and mental health effects as of a result of  last week's chemical plant explosion in Geismar. Louisiana Bucket  Brigade director Anne Rolfes says they surveyed 67 people and most of  the people reported some sort of symptom.  However,

 Department of Environmental Quality spokesperson Rodney Mallett says  their air quality readings throughout Ascension Parish came back fine. Rolfes says her organization does not agree with the reports from the  Department of Environmental Quality, who claim there were no reports of  harmful effects after the explosion at the Williams Olefins plant..

 

The recent party switch by Opelousas  state  Senator Elbert Guillory is  making  national  headlines.  Newly  minted  Republican  Senator Guillory  tells  his  story  to  the Washington Post; the  story  is available online. Guillory is currently the only black republican in the State Legislature.

 

The attorney for Livingston Parish School board President Malcolm  Sibley who was arrested on a hit and run charge Sunday says his client  is remorseful. Sibley was involved in an accident in which a  21-year-old man from Mississippi was killed.  Police say it appears the man was standing in the middle of the road at the time of the accident. However, police say leaving the scene and failure to report the accident was a felony offense.

 

An area of low oxygen to form this summer off the coast of Louisiana could grow to the size of New Jersey if forecasts released Tuesday hold true. That area of low oxygen, also known as the “dead zone,” could be one of the largest scientists have seen since annual monitoring began in 1985.

 

The Alexandria Police is requesting assistance in locating a missing person.

37 year old Deesha Austin was last seen June 9 wearing a gray and pink dress. Her family reported that she left the residence to go to the store and never returned. Anyone with information as to her whereabouts should contact the Alexandria Police Department.

 

 

 

 

News For Tuesday 06/18/13


News for Tuesday 061813

By Dave Graichen

 

It's win or go home for LSU Tigers this afternoon as they face North  Carolina in an elimination game in the College World Series. Coach Paul  Mainieri will start sophomore Cody Glenn on the mound. It will be  Glenn's first appearance since May 22nd. Mainieri admits he is concerned  about the long layoff, but believes Glenn can get the job done...You can hear that game this afternoon beginning with the pre-game at 1:30. On 970 KSYL.

 

Gov. Bobby Jindal has launched a statewide tour that will take him to all 64 parishes.  His first stop, in Alexandria yesterday at Central Louisiana Technical Community College, where he signed legislation to provide funding for projects at community and technical colleges across the state. The governor says the tour will include events that will highlight new economic development announcements, education achievements, transportation projects, coastal restoration projects, and legislation passed in the recent legislative session. Kyle Plotkin, Jindal’s communications director, said individual stops will be added as events come up.

 

Governor Jindal signs legislation that provides state funding for  construction projects at community and technical colleges across  Louisiana. L-C-T-C-S President Joe May says the money will go towards  building new workshops and training areas for students in key industries  like nursing, welding, construction and information technology. The bill provides 251-million dollars for 29 projects at Louisiana  Community and Technical Colleges. May says 34-million dollars of that  money is local, private matching funds.

 

The Louisiana National Guard's highest-ranking enlisted man is under investigation  for allegations  of  sexual  harassment  and  sexual assault. Colonel Mike Kazmierzak says the allegations are against Sgt.  Major  Tommy  Caillier,  who after a preliminary investigation,  was been  removed from his  post,  while  a  criminal   investigation  is conducted.  Caillier  is  accused  of  sexually harassing and possibly sexually assaulting a fellow Guard soldier.

 

State Police say a 15-year-old in Evangeline Parish died over  the weekend just hours after he was ejected from  an ATV he was driving.  State police say Matthew Neal of Basile was operating a 4-wheeler that did not have functioning lights when he was hit  from  behind  by a pickup. Both Neal and a 16-year-old passenger, were ejected. The passenger survived, Neal passed died from his injuries. The crash remains under investigation.

 

The  Lafayette Parish Sheriff's office says a 3-year-old boy drowned in a   swimming   pool  Saturday  during  a party at his grandparent’s  home  just outside of Carencro Saturday night.  They  say  deputies responded  to  the  home  to find the child un-responsive and he was later pronounced dead at a  local  hospital. The case is being ruled an accident.

 

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's office says a 37-year-old man drowned after he and his one-year-old  baby  fell  into  the  Sabine  River. Spokeswoman  Kim  Myers  says  witnesses  jumped  into the river and rescued the child, but could not save James Mason of  DeQuincy.

 

Congratulations to Rapides Parish judge Harry Randow,  who, along with 6 others, will be inducted July 12 into the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame. The induction events begin with a reception for the honorees and the public at the Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum at the gates to the prison. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will follow to reveal the exhibit cases that illustrate the lives and accomplishments of the inductees.

Randow has been judge of the 9th Judicial District in Rapides Parish for 16 years

 

A man who is a suspect in the 2008 case of a woman who was raped and murdered in Lake Charles is now on the  FBI's  Ten Most Wanted list. 25-year-old  Jose  Manuel  Garcia  Guevara is wanted  for  allegedly breaking  into  the home of a 26-year-old  woman,  raping  her  then killing her all in front of her 4 year old son on February 19, 2008. The FBI is offering  up to a $100,000 reward for information leading to Guevara's arrest.

 

Police  in Monroe are still seeking a man they say opened fire at a Father's Day barbecue; killing one man and wounding two others. Police say an argument  led  to 29-year-old Eldrick Carter shooting the victims. An arrest warrant for Carter is out, and police ask anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts  to call Monroe  Police

 

The University of Louisiana System rolls out its new online degree  program; aimed at adults who wish to go back and finish their college  degree. U.L. System President Sandra Woodley says their online B.A. in  Organizational Leadership program is a great way to go back - at one's  own pace - and complete a degree program.

 

Livingston Parish School Board  President Malcolm Sibley is facing a charge of hit-and-run after he allegedly  struck  a  pedestrian that died  from  his  injuries on Saturday morning in St. Helena  Parish. State Police Trooper Melissa Matey says Sibley was taken into police custody a few hours after the hit-and-run occurred.

 

 

News For Monday 06/17/13


News for Monday 061713

By Dave Graichen

 

LSU suffers a frustrating loss in its long awaited return to the  College World Series as the Tigers allow two unearned runs in a 2-to-1  defeat to UCLA. LSU spoiled a good outing by starting pitcher Aaron Nola  by committing two critical errors. Coach Paul Mainieri says that was the  difference in the game The loss sends LSU to the loser's bracket where they'll play North  Carolina at two o' clock on Tuesday.

 

A new report ranks Louisiana 2nd-lowest state in the U.S. for its number  of college graduates. The report done by the Lumina Foundation shows only 27.9% of Louisiana adults between 25 & 64  have a college degree.  West Virginia has a slightly lower rate to place  50th among states. In case you are wondering, Massachusetts ranked #1 with 50.8% having college degrees.

 

Controversy erupted Friday afternoon on whether all public school teachers will get pay raises or if those rated as “ineffective” in Louisiana’s new evaluations will be excluded.

State Superintendent of Education John White, in a late afternoon press conference, said the Legislature clearly intended for the increases to apply to teachers generally.

White said while it is up to local school districts to make the final call, he plans to make clear to them next week that lawmakers intended for all teachers to get the increase.

 

Governor Jindal signs a pair of pro-life bills into law. One of the  measures would prohibit a so-called "telemedicine" abortion. That's when a doctor uses Skype or another video service to watch the administration  of a drug that can be used in abortion. The author of the bill Gene Mills says he hasn't heard of telemedicine abortions  occurring in Louisiana and it's not recommended by health professionals. The other pro-life bill signed by the governor increases the penalties  for coerced abortions. That’s when a parent or legal guardian encourages a minor child to have an abortion. The author of that bill,  Denham Springs Representative Valerie Hodges, says  a coerced abortion will fall under the legal definition of child abuse.  The legislation also allows the Department of Children  and Family Services to provide protection for the pregnant teen.

 

A second person has died as a result of Thursday's chemical plant  explosion in Ascension Parish. State Police identify  the victim as 47-year-old Scott Thrower of St. Amant.  29-year-old Zachary Green of Hammond also died in the blast. Green was

hired in October by Williams Companies, which owns the plant.  Plant manager Larry Bayer says the blaze ignited at a propylene  fractionator and propylene and propane were involved in the explosion.

 

Unhappy about an 11th-hour funding addition for Bayou Country Superfest, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne wants the governor to remove the money from the state spending plan.

Two state senators declined Thursday and Friday to discuss the additional $200,000 draw on the lieutenant governor’s tourism funds. The amendment crept into the $25 billion state operating budget late in the legislative session. Assuming the governor allows the appropriations to stand, The state operating budget also calls for Dardenne to spend $300,616 on the Independence Bowl, $948,112 on the Essence Festival, $250,000 on the Louisiana Special Olympics and $56,000 on a Creole plantation house. All of which will be out of the control of the Lt. Governor.

 

 

 

 

 

News For Friday 06/14/13


News for Friday 061413

By Dave Graichen

 

A 29-year-old man from Hammond died in yesterday's chemical plant  explosion in Ascension Parish. Zachary Green was one of 600 workers at  the Williams Olefins plant in Geismar, when a huge fireball went up into  the sky at around 8:30 yesterday morning. The department of health and hospitals says another 77 individuals were

 taken to local hospitals and three remain in intensive care. Now that  all of the workers have been accounted for, officials will try to  determine what ignited the blaze. State Police Col. Mike Edmonson says  several experts are assisting in the investigation.

 

Word is from Michael Jenkins the new owner of the Hotel Bentley, the refurbished downtown landmark show be open in December.  Jenkins tol the “Town Talk” earlier this week that “He could have probably opened 3-4 months earlier, but he wanted to go ahead and do the job right the first time. Jenkins saying, It’s going to take longer, but that he thinks it will pay off in the long run.” Under Jenkins’ plans, the original portion of the Bentley will remain a hotel with nearly 100 rooms. The seven-floor tower portion, which was added in the 1930s, is being gutted and converted to condominiums. The entire interview is in today’s “Town Talk”.

 

Speaking of the Town Talk, The company that owns our local newspaper, Gannett, has purchased Belo Broadcasting, the owner of WWL TV in new Orleans and other TV stations across the country. The cost, $1.5 Billion and the assumption of $715 Million in debt.

 

A new poll shows Louisiana voters support passage of a bipartisan  immigration bill currently moving through the U.S. Senate. Sponsored by  the Alliance For Citizenship, the poll was conducted by Burland &  Associates. Pollster James Burland says 70% of those polled say they support the immigration reform  bill, co-authored by the "Gang of Eight"; four House and four Senate  members from both parties.  The bill could come up for a U.S. Senate vote soon. Senator Mary  Landrieu leans toward a "yes" vote, but Senator David Vitter opposes the  bill, because it doesn't prioritize securing the boarder. The bill would however authorize and pay for national guard troops to patrol the border.

 

Dad should do alright this Sunday, Father's Day, as the National Retail  Federation projects spending for Dad should be higher this year. Baton  Rouge retail analyst Jim Rutledge says the average person will spend  just under $120 this year--up from $117 last year.  Total spending for Father's Day nationwide is expected to top $13-billion.

 

Four months after requesting a speedy trial, an attorney for one of two Baton Rouge men accused in the 2007 slaying of two LSU graduate students from India asked a judge Thursday to scrub the scheduled June 24 trial date and set a later one.

State District Judge Chip Moore scheduled a new trial date of Sept. 23 for both men.

The attorney who represents one of accused, told the judge he needs time to investigate forensic evidence that prosecutors recently turned over to the defense.

The judge warned both sides Thursday that the Sept. 23 trial date will not be altered.

 

A 7-mile stretch of the southbound  lanes along the main Plaquemines Parish evacuation route will be closed for most of hurricane season. The  LA Hwy 23 project hopes to raise  that  part  of  the  road  to prevent future flooding.

 

State Police inspectors have given Bossier City's new Margaritaville casino the all-clear to open its doors the the  public.  The  casino hopes  to  have that soft opening this Saturday. A Grand Opening  is planned for July 3rd, with a live performance by Jimmy Buffett.

 

Senator Mary Landrieu's son was arrested in New Orleans  for driving the  wrong  way  in  the  French  Quarter,  hit  &  run, and an open alcoholic   beverage   in  the  car.  21-year-old  Connor  Snellings reportedly hit a pedestrian,  who  wasn't  badly  hurt. In a written statement, Senator Landrieu says she and her husband  are "extremely

disappointed" in their son's "irresponsible actions".

 

Ouachita  Parish  deputies  arrested  Philadelphia  Eagles   all-pro offensive   tackle  Jason  Peters  for  alleged  drag  racing  early Wednesday morning.  Sheriff's spokesman Major Mike Moore says Peters fled when officers tried  to pull him over--reaching speeds of up to 100 miles an hour. He says  Peters  eventually  pulled  over and was booked on two charges. Moore says Peters posted bail and was released. Peters was busted by Shreveport cops back in March of 2011, for  a  loud  music violation and resisting an officer.

 

 

News For Thursday 06/13/13


News for Thursday  061313

By Dave Graichen

 

Real personal income grew 2.1 percent in Louisiana in 2011, slightly behind the national average of 2.7 percent. According to figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, real personal income in Louisiana was $167.2 billion in 2011, compared with $163.7 billion in 2010. The U.S. total rose from almost $11.1 trillion to nearly $11.4 trillion.

 

Gov. Bobby Jindal is under pressure from the faith community to veto legislation that would set up a legal framework in Louisiana for surrogate births. Among the 433 bills that made it to the governor’s desk in the recent legislative session, the Louisiana Family Forum and the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops targeted just one: Senate Bill 162. (The groups want the governor to stop the legislation from becoming state law. Louisiana Family Forum President Gene Mills say “It threatens the integrity of the traditional family. On the opposite end of the spectrum is state Sen. Gary Smith, D-Norco, who filed SB162 after he and his wife, Katherine, turned to surrogates in Nevada and California to carry their biological children. They used surrogates because of medical problems, and they did not want to grapple with legal complications that could arise in Louisiana.) Jindal must make a decision within the next few weeks. He can sign the bill, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature.

 

Kenner  Police  say  they responded to a report of a vehicle driving recklessly on I-10 early  yesterday  morning and discovered a 10-year-old behind the wheel. Sgt. Brian McGregor  says the child's grandmother, 54-year-old Brenda Byrd, her friend, 48-year-old  Shelia  Joiner and the  child's brother were passengers in the SUV. He says the  adults informed  the  officer  they  needed the child to drive because they were both too drunk to do so. McGregor  says  both  Byrd  and Joiner were arrested.

 

The latest approach to addressing the homeless population in Baton Rouge is to offer them a bus ticket out of the city. The Metro Council approved the mayor’s mid-year budget allocation Wednesday, which among many other funds, included $5,000 for one-way bus tickets for homeless people. Initially, the homeless relocation program was referred to in budget documents as “Clean Sweep,” but it was subsequently renamed “HOPE,” which stands for Homeless Outreach Prevention Efforts.

 

An Army veteran on Wednesday pleaded guilty in federal court to second-degree murder in the 2010 slaying of a soldier at Fort Polk. 28 year old Marcus Carey also pleaded guilty to attempted murder in an attack on a second soldier at the base. The judge set sentencing for Sept. 19.

 

According  to  a  new  study by the American Automobile Association, using voice commands to  text while driving is MORE distracting than talking on your cell phone.  Triple-A  spokesman Don Redman says the study   found   that   speech  to  text  systems   require   greater concentration than talking  on the phone. He says reaction times are slower and brain function is compromised.

 

The L-S-U baseball team leaves this morning for Omaha, the site of the  College World Series. The Tigers play their first round game against  U-C-L-A on Sunday night. Head Coach Paul Mainieri says the team has been scrimmaging to  keep from getting rusty, but the eight-day break between games has helped the Tigers get back to full-strength. The LSU Tigers have won 57 games this season and Mainieri says if they  play like they did since February, they'll have the opportunity to stay  alive a long time during the 12-day tournament.

 

The LHSAA releases its football championship schedule and for the first  time ever there will be nine title games, instead of five, because the  association voted to separate public schools from private schools for  the postseason. The prep classic will begin Thursday December 12th and last until  Saturday 14th in the Mercedes Benz Suuperdome.

 

The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's  office  has charged two women in  the  death  of  a  23-month-old boy. The Two are charged with first degree  murder. Authorities say the child was  taken  to the  hospital June 6th, while  in  the  care  of  the  couple,  with life-threatening  injuries  and died Saturday as the result of blunt force trauma to the head.

 

State  Police say a motorcyclist  was  killed  in  Concordia  Parish Tuesday. They say 33-year-old David Welch of Vidalia lost control of his bike,  ran off the road and overturned several times. He was not wearing his helmet and was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

The AARP Louisiana says thousands of commuters will be impacted and the  regional economy could suffer because of the decision to end the L-A  Swift bus service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The AARP's Jason  Tutor says they surveyed over 300 L-A Swift riders and found out 51%  of the riders use the service to get to work. It's estimated over 12-thousand riders use L-A Swift every month.  The service is set to end June 30th, unless the state can find another  750-thousand dollars to attract federal matching dollars, so the  transportation service can continue.

 

State Police is asking for the public's help as they investigate the theft of an ATM  from  the Hammond Office of Motor Vehicles. Trooper Nick Manale says early Tuesday  morning someone drove a vehicle into the front glass wall of the OMV and stole the ATM.

 

 

News For Wednesday 06/12/13


News for Wednesday 061213

By Dave Graichen

 

It appears Ft. Polk is safe for now. A Senate panel on Tuesday approved legislation rejecting the Defense Department’s request to shutter installations and facilities in the United States that are no longer needed as the military branches cut the number of troops in uniform. Last week, The House Armed Services Committee also said no to more base closings, and even took the additional step of adding a provision barring the Pentagon from even planning for another round of cuts. The House and Senate refusals effectively ensure that a final defense policy bill approved by Congress for the 2014 fiscal year won’t give the department permission to close excess bases even as lawmakers clamor for ways to cut the federal deficit.

 

Governor Jindal yesterday signed senate bill 116 that will allow voters in Pineville to go to the polls in October to decide whether or not they what alcohol to be sold in local restaurants. Supporters say restaurants that are interested in Pineville but currently shying away, particularly national chains who say they would come to the city if alcohol sales are allowed. It’s hoped, that, in turn, would attract more development, including hotels, that would open up economic opportunities in the city.

 

The Alexandria City Council adopted resolutions Tuesday confirming two people to city posts who had held the positions on an interim basis. Daniel Williams was confirmed as director of community services. Williams was confirmed by a 4-3 vote, with council members Chuck Fowler, Harry Silver, Lee Rubin and Jim Villard voting yes while Ed Larvadain, Mitzi LaSalle and Jules Green voted no. David Gill was confirmed by unanimous vote as director of public works.

 

Governor  Jindal's  coastal  advisor is critical of BP's decision to end  active  deepwater  horizon oil  spill  operations  in  Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.  Chairman  of  the  Coastal  Protection and Restoration  Authority  Garret  Graves  questions  why BP would  end response   efforts   in  those  states  when  there's  an  estimated one-million barrels of oil still in the Gulf of Mexico. BP says oil response  efforts will continue along 84 shoreline miles in Louisiana.

 

One of the bills passed by the Legislature and sent to Governor Jindal's  desk reforms the state's practices for collecting outstanding debts.  State Treasurer John Kennedy supported the legislation. He says,  currently, the state's many agencies handle their own collections – and  do so poorly. House Bill 629  centralizes all debt owed the state under the Department of  Revenue. Kennedy says it will more effectively collect some of the  nearly $2-billion in outstanding sums owed to the state. Kennedy says the   centralized collection system will be implemented with  the Governor's signature and could produce millions for state coffers  before the year's end.

 

3 death row inmates have filed a lawsuit against the Louisiana State  Penitentiary for what they call appalling conditions under extreme heat  in their cells. The lawsuit is filed on behalf of the inmates by the  Promise of Justice Initiative and deputy director Mercedes Montagnes who says the state of death row at Angola is unacceptable. Montagnes says they are not asking for "comfortable"  conditions on death row---they are asking for humane conditions... in addition to the extreme heat, Montagnes says the inmates say they get dirty water and when they  get ice, it often has bugs in it.

 

Pairings and game times have been announced  for  the  College World Series and the LSU Baseball/UCLA game will be held Sunday  night  at 7pm  on  ESPN2 and ESPN3. The first game on Saturday will be between the  Oregon   State/Kansas   State   Super  Regional  winner  versus Mississippi  State.  The second game on  Saturday  will  be  Indiana against  Louisville.  The  first  game  Sunday  will  be  the  North Carolina/South Carolina  Super Regional winner versus North Carolina State.

 

The woman accused of a Memorial Day weekend drunk driving crash that killed  three  people  has been released from the hospital and taken into custody by St. Charles  Parish  deputies. Jennifer Englade face three counts of vehicular homicide, 3rd degree feticide, 2nd offense DWI and other charges. Investigators believe  she  was legally drunk when she veered across the center line and into the  path  of  small sedan;  killing two adults inside...one of them a pregnant woman.  A passenger in Englade's vehicle was also killed.

 

The US Coast Guard  says one person is dead and another fighting for their life after a boating  accident  in Pilottown Monday. Pilottown is  located  in the very tip of the boot  of  Louisiana  and  rescue swimmers had to  be lowered to the location of the pleasure craft in trouble. The two were  air-lifted to the Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans and upon  arrival  one person was pronounced dead and the other in critical condition.

 

U-L Monroe has named three finalists to become the school's new athletic  director. The three finalists are Georgia associate A-D Josh  Brooks, U-C Riverside A-D Brian Wickstrom and Texas-Pan American  athletic director Chris King.  The plan is to have a new A-D in place by August 1st.

 

A New Iberia woman and her  son are accused of burglarizing the same home twice. Morgan City Police  say 47-year-old Tina Collier and her 17-year-old son Brandon allegedly  hit  the  house  on  May 17th and again last Sunday. They've been booked in the parish jail.

 

Bossier City's newest casino resort is growing closer to opening its  doors. Margaritaville spokesperson Christy Wood says State Police Gaming  division officers are visiting this week, to test casino systems, gaming  machines, staff training and compliance with state laws. Wood says the tropically-themed Margaritaville is very much on track for

it's Grand Opening celebration; coming up in early July. Jimmy Buffett is scheduled to perform at the grand opening.

 

 

News For Tuesday 06/11/13


News For Tuesday 061113

By Dave Graichen

 

A 48-year-old priest with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Alexandria was found dead Friday in a room at a local motel. Fr. Jamie Medina-Cruz was a pastor of St. Mary's Assumption Catholic Church in Cottonport and an assistant pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Marksville. Medina-Cruz was placed on administrative leave at St. Mary's on March 12 after being accused of improper conduct with a minor. He was relieved of his duties pending an investigation by the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office. No charges had been filed. The APD Reports there were no signs of a crime at the scene.

 

More  bad  economic  news for Shreveport.  Barksdale Air Force  Base officials say they have issued almost 14-hundred furlough letters to civilians who work on  the  base.   The  furlough period starts July 8th.  Officials say the cuts are expected to save Barksdale some 1.6 million dollars.  The furloughs for workers will be one day per week

for 11 weeks.

 

The state Board of Regents releases its annual report of teacher  preparation and performance, which shows public school teachers doing  better than expected. Regents spokesperson Dr. Jeanne (GENE) Burns says  the report shows a great many teachers are rating "effective: proficient" or "highly effective" in the new value-added teacher performance  reviews. She says the findings indicate that the redesign of teacher preparation is working. Teacher preparation programs in Louisiana underwent a major redesign  between 2001 and 2010. Burns says the report shows those efforts are bearing fruit

 

The Louisiana Civil Service Commission has cleared the way for the state to lay off nearly 4,000 employees at LSU-affiliated hospitals in Lafayette, Lake Charles, Houma and New Orleans. Commissioner Scott Hughes, who last week voted to deny the layoffs, said Monday that the state Department of Health and Hospitals had supplied sufficient information in the interim to convince him that there would be a savings, although he still has doubts as to whether the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would approve some of the planned financing. The employees  to receive pink slips at the end of business June 23.

 

The coroner in Orleans  Parish  has  positively ID'ed the body found inside a car in Bayou St. John as that  of  missing  school  teacher Terrilynn  Monette,  who went missing in the early morning hours  of March 2nd, after leaving  a Lakeview neighborhood bar.  Divers found Monette's black Honda Accord  with  her  still  inside  it Saturday. Cause of death is listed as drowning.

 

A big fundraiser takes place today in Washington DC to help Congressman  Bill Cassidy's US Senate campaign. The National Republican Senatorial  committee headquarters is the host site. The invitation lists the entire  Louisiana republican congressional delegation as "special guests. Latest fundraising totals show, Senator Landrieu has a million dollars  more in her campaign war chest than Cassidy

 

The  Bossier  City Margaritaville Resort Casino  is  in  it's  final stages  of getting  everything  together  before  opening.  State Police and  other  gaming officials are checking this week to see if the new casino is in  compliance  with  Louisiana  law.  They  say a determination  will  be  made  on  Thursday.  The  grand  opening of

Margaritaville  is scheduled for the July 4th week and Jimmy  Buffet with perform at the casino's theater on July 3rd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News For Monday 06/10/13


News for Monday 061013

By Dave Graichen

 

The LSU baseball team is headed back to Omaha for the first time since  2009 after sweeping its Super Regional Series with Oklahoma. The Tigers  reserved their spot in the College world Series with an 11-to-1 win over  the Sooners.  If LSU didn't get to Omaha this year, they would have been the first  senior class since 1985 not to play in the College World Series. The LSU team will leave on Thursday for Omaha, where they'll play the  College World Series at the new TD Ameritrade Park. The Tigers will take  on UCLA in their first game next weekend.

 

Senator David Vitter has filed a bill to help homeowners avoid  potentially drastic increases in the cost of National Flood Insurance.  Right now the NFIP is scheduled to implement rate increases of up to 20%  a year for four straight years. The bill seeks

to delay those premium hikes for a year, while a better solution is  worked out. Just weeks ago, an amendment to that same effect by Senator  Mary Landrieu was defeated in the Senate.

 

A family’s agonizing, months-long search for missing Jefferson Parish teacher Terrilynn Monette appeared to end Saturday when her car was pulled from a bayou with a body behind the wheel. While an autopsy still must be performed to find out if the corpse is that of the 26 year old teacher, officials who led search efforts, said the chances of the body not being her’s are slim.

 

State  Police  say an early Sunday morning two car crash  in  Sabine Parish has claimed  the life of a man from Dilboll, Texas.  They say Tommy Tilley Jr lost  control  of  his  vehicle  on  Highway 191 and crossed  the  center  line  hitting  a  truck  going  in  the  other direction.  After  impact,  Tilly slammed into several trees. He was pronounced dead on scene. The  driving  of  the truck received minor injuries.

 

State  wildlife  and  fisheries  agents  say a six-year-old boy  was seriously hurt during a boating accident on  the  Tickfaw  River  in Livingston  Parish  on Sunday night. Wildlife agents say five people were on a boat that slammed into a tree. Authorities say charges are possible against the boat operator.

 

State  Police say a driver  who  was  not  wearing  a  seatbelt  and possibly drunk is dead in a single vehicle crash in Claiborne Parish late Saturday  night.  They say 52-year-old Michael Waganer of Homer ran  off  La  Highway  2  and  struck  a  ditch  then  a  tree.  The unrestrained man was partially  ejected  and  pronounced  dead  at a

local hospital. Alcohol use is suspected.

 

The Louisiana Lottery Commission says a Lotto ticket bought in New Orleans is worth $835,701, but nobody won the jackpots for Easy 5 or the Powerball. That means Wednesday's estimated Powerball jackpot rises to $70 million.

 

The explosives recycling company that last month had its licenses suspended in the wake of an investigation into millions of pounds of improperly stored military propellant has launched its own salvo. Explo Systems Inc. and its owners are seeking damages along with a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction to halt the action of the state police that has put them out of business for now. The owners claim their constitutional right against unreasonable seizure and taking without just compensation were violated when the state police without warning on May 20 entered the premises at Camp Minden and physically confiscated all licenses and the keys to the storage magazines.

 

A  Caddo  Parish man has been arrested for setting fire to a church, allegedly because  he  was  angry with the pastor's teachings. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says  25-year-old William Sexton, of Oil City, intentionally set the blaze that  destroyed  the Vivian United Pentecostal  Church,  on  April  23rd. He's charged with  aggravated arson, because people were asleep in the facility at the time of the fire. No one was hurt in the blaze.

 

An east Texas actress has been arrested in connection with allegedly ricin-tainted  letters  that  were  mailed last month  to  President Barack  Obama  and New York City Mayor  Michael  Bloomberg.  Shannon Richardson is also  known  as  Shannon  Rogers or Shannon Guess. She reportedly called police to implicate her  estranged  husband in the case.  The  letters  were postmarked from Shreveport. Richardson  is accused of mailing a threatening  communication to the president and faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

 

Two south Louisiana  woman are under arrest for defrauding Medicaid. The woman worked as home  health care providers, and allegedly filed bogus timesheets for home visits  to  patients  who,  it turned out, were  in a hospital at the time. They've been charged with  Medicaid fraud.

 

Police in Baker,  in  East  Baton Rouge Parish, say a small aircraft crashed into a neighborhood Friday--setting  three  homes  on  fire. It's confirmed  the pilot, who was the only person aboard the plane, was killed in the crash.

 

Narcotic  officers in Terebonne, Lafourche and  Assumption  parishes have busted a major cocaine ring. After a months-long investigation, eight people  have been taken into custody. They also seized 8 to 10 kilos of powder cocaine and over $80-thousand in cash.

 

 

 

 

News For Friday 06/07/13


News for Friday 060713

By Dave Graichen

 

State  lawmakers  have,  in  the  closing  hours  of the legislative session,  passed  a  $25.4-Billion  state  budget. This  averts  the necessity for a special budget session as was feared by many, just a day ago. The Senate approved the compromised  budget  bill by a 38-1 vote.  The  House  vote  was  unanimous. The budget deal includes  a

$69-million increase in funding  for  local  school  districts,  and small raise for school teachers. The budget deal has the approval of Governor  Jindal.  The Governor has already singed bills that change the way future budgets may be put together.

 

Public school teachers will see pay raises of about $500 under a budget compromise that won final approval less than an hour before adjournment Thursday, officials said.

The salary increase would stem from a surprising boost of $69 million in state aid to public schools, which was a key part of the late-session agreement on Louisiana’s $25.4 billion operating budget. Under the plan, half of the money would be used for certificated personnel, teachers and others, and the other 50 percent would be left to the discretion of local school districts.

 

The State Bond Commission signed off Thursday on a refinancing of Louisiana’s tobacco settlement bonds that will take advantage of low interest rates and generate more than $60 million to plug into next year’s budget. The dollars were included in the 2013-14 budget under negotiation by lawmakers to help pay for the state’s free college tuition program called TOPS, so passage was needed to keep the $25 billion spending plan in balance. The state will save an estimated $144 million over three years.

 

The congressional fight to avoid potentially skyrocketing flood insurance rate increases in Louisiana and elsewhere made its first tangible gains Thursday. The U.S. House approved legislation that would delay the rate hikes on “grandfathered” properties by a year. Nearly 500,000 people in Louisiana participate in the NFIP. The program has been in financial distress with a loss of more than $20 billion, largely due to payments made after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

 

To celebrate National Get Outdoors Day, the U.S. Forest Service will waive most recreation use fees such as day-use areas that include picnic sites, swimming and boating sites in Kisatchie National Forest on Saturday. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says this weekend is a free for all fishing weekend for Louisiana citizens and visitors.  Spokesman Bo Boehringer says that means you can  recreationally fish in fresh or salt water without a fishing license. -- June 8th and 9th.

 He says they use this weekend as a recruitment tool in hopes to inspire Louisiana's youth to make fishing a lifelong hobby

 

A 29-year-old Kenner man  has  been  arrested  in the kidnapping and rape of a 7-year-old girl in Metairie. Deputies  say  the  girl  was kidnapped  Wednesday afternoon by a man who entered through a broken gate at her  apartment complex. Overnight, they caught up with David Carter, who  will  face  charges of aggravated kidnapping of a child and aggravated rape.

 

Southwest Louisiana will be the place to  win championships for high school  athletes over the next two  years. The  LHSAA  awarded  Lake Charles' Burton Coliseum as the host site for the girls and boys Top 28 basketball tournament. All seven  baseball  state championship games will also be played in southwest  Louisiana as  the  games  will  be  played  at  Sulphur's McMurray Park.

 

The  House bill aimed  at  protecting  the  privacy  of  Louisiana's concealed  weapon  permit holders has won final legislative passage. The bill imposes fines of up to $10-thousand  on anyone who releases or  publishes  the confidential information about  who  has  or  has applied for a CWP. He says Governor Jindal supported the legislation

and is expected to give it his signature.

 

Governor  Jindal has officially named Timothy Barfield the Secretary of Revenue.  Barfield  has pretty much run the department ever since the  departure  of Cynthia  Bridges  last  year.  Barfield  will  be compensated at around  $250-thousand  a year; twice what Bridges was paid. Barfield officially takes the title July 1st. He's also served

as  executive director of the Louisiana Workforce  Commission  during The Governor’s  1st term.

 

LSU will face one of the top pitchers in the country in Game 1 of their super regional series with Oklahoma. Tigers right-hander Aaron Nola will oppose Sooner righty Jonathan Gray. Game 1 of the best of 3 Super Regional Series starts on tonight, tomorrow night and Sunday if necessary at 5:30p.

News For Thursday 06/06/13


News for Thursday 060613

By Dave Graichen

 

This is it, the last day of the 2013  Legislative  Session,  And it appears the Louisiana House and state Senate officials have reached a preliminary agreement on the state budget that begins on July 1st. Word is, the deal was struck shortly after the chambers adjourned for the night. A final deal will not be completed until the various caucuses and factions have an opportunity to tell their members.

 

We have our first named storm of the 2013 hurricane season. Tropical Storm  Andrea  is  located  in  the east-central Gulf. It's forecast track should take it northeast into Florida. We could be seeing some related rain from Andrea though.

 

Gov. Bobby Jindal will allow Louisiana’s public colleges to raise new fees on their students, charges that will produce an estimated $18 million annually for campuses. The Legislative Fiscal Office said the building fee would generate $4.7 million for the LSU System each year, $7.2 million for the University of Louisiana System, $700,000 for the Southern University System and $4.9 million for the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.

 

The Louisiana Senate on Wednesday refused to take up House-passed legislation that would reduce the penalties for simple possession of marijuana.  A two-thirds vote was required in order to bring House Bill 103 up for debate as the 2013 session winds down. The Senate voted 22-10 to allow the measure to be heard but it was four votes short of the super majority.

 

The Louisiana House made a failed stab Wednesday at reviving a proposal to eliminate the mandatory retirement age for judges. Senate Bill 5 is a constitutional amendment that needs the approval of two thirds of the Legislature to go before voters. In the House, the bill needs 70 votes. The amendment would ensure that judges no longer are required to retire when they turn age 70. The House vote was 59-29 in favor of the bill, not enough for passage.

 

Members of the LSU and Southern University system governing boards will have to disclose which students receive scholarships from them, if Gov. Bobby Jindal agrees to a bill that received final passage Wednesday. Senate Bill 31 requires the boards to post the list of its scholarship recipients annually on their websites and to provide a list to the Louisiana Legislature. The list will have to include the name of each recipient, the board member who gave the scholarship and the annual dollar value of the award. Refusal to submit the information would suspend board members’ ability to give scholarships. The bill passed both house unanimously.

 

A bid to let Louisiana driver’s licenses comply with federal law requiring each state to create a national identification card for air travel, including domestic flights, has stalled in the state Senate. Officials with the state motor vehicles department have said that if the state doesn’t comply with the federal Real ID law, residents will need passports to fly starting in October.

 

The Lafayette Police Department  is  asking for the public's help in locating  a  suspect  involved  in  a shooting  in the city early Wednesday morning.  They say two suspects in masks  forcefully entered a home around 2:50am and once inside exchanged gunfire  with  the resident. One  suspect  was  killed by the home owner and  the other fled in a getaway car  and remains at large. The homeowner was later arrested on drug charges.  The motive for the shooting remains under investigation.

 

The  Coalition  to  Restore Coastal Louisiana is launching a program that will collect oyster  shells  from  New Orleans area restaurants and use them to improve public oyster seed  areas  along  the coast. It’s believed  the oysters can serve as a foundation for reefs. A one-million dollar donation  from  Shell  Oil  Company makes this program possible.

 

The Assumption Parish sinkhole has grown again. This time nearly 500 feet  of berm set up to help keep possible contaminants from leaking into other  waterways,  have now sunk. It's been almost a year since the now 15-acre sinkhole  caused  the evacuation of nearby residents in Bayou Corne.

 

 

 

 

Sports..

 

LSU  shortstop  Alex  Bregman  was  named  Wednesday as the National

Freshman Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball magazine. Bregman

has  been  invited  to  join Team USA this summer  for  its  33-game

international tour, which includes a trip to Japan.

 

The LHSAA Executive Committee is set to vote today on the biggest issue  on their agenda, the split football championships. LHSAA President Todd  Guice of Ouachita High says the debate has been over whether the  playoffs for the private schools should have two divisions or up to  five.  The LHSAA president says the advantage of having five playoff divisions  for select schools, is that schools of similar size will be play each other in the postseason.

 

 

 

News For Wednesday 06/05/13


News for Wednesday 060513

By Dave Graichen

 

Details are still sketchy, but a Pineville police officer was seriously injured  Tuesday when a car collided with the officer’s motorcycle on Highway 28 East. Officer Michael Daenen  was struck by a vehicle turning onto Medical Park Boulevard. He is listed in stable condition. With several broken bones.

 

The Rapides Parish School Board approved a hire for executive assistant  superintendent, a position created in the district reorganization plan proposed by Superintendent Nason Authement. The plan, which included several position eliminations and additions, was approved on May 21, two weeks before Authement’s first board meeting.

 

In a break with tradition, six Louisiana House members — instead of the usual — three would work with the state Senate to hammer out a compromise on the state budget.

State Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, made the motion shortly after the House got underway Tuesday, signaling possible movement toward a resolution on the $25 billion state spending plan. If the House and the Senate cannot reach an agreement by 6 p.m. Thursday, when the session ends, legislators would have to return to the State Capitol for a special session.

 

The  House approved bill by NOLA Representative  Austin  Badon  that would  loosen  penalties  on  pot  possession  sentences passed in a Senate  Committee  4-2  yesterday. It heads to the  Senate  Floor today for possible final legislative passage.

 

Judges and parish sheriffs have  won  legislative  backing for their pay raises. With a 29-7 vote, the Senate gave final  passage Tuesday to  a  bill outlining five years of pay raises for judges.  Sheriffs can get  the salary hikes, because a law allows them to get the same raises as  district  court  judges.  The bill now goes to Gov. Bobby

Jindal, who has said he'll sign it into law.

 

Family, friends and well-wishers lined US 190 near Hammond yesterday, as the  body  of slain National Guard Specialist Chris Drake was driven by. Drake's  remains  were taken from a Hammond airport to a funeral home in Denham Springs.  He  was  killed  in Afghanistan by a rocket propelled grenade attack.

 

A low pressure disturbance in the southern Gulf of Mexico has potential  to become the year's first tropical storm. State Climatologist Barry  Keim says the system COULD become Tropical Storm Andrea. Keim says the system is mostly swirling over the area of the Yucatan  Peninsula, and is poorly organized at this time...but that could  change. Even if the system upgrades into the season's named storm, forecasters say it'll likely move to the northeast and the Florida panhandle.

 

Tuesday the legislature passed a law that would require state agencies to  pay  women  the  same amount of money as a male co-worker in the same position. Louisiana  Pay Equity Advocacy Director Camille Moran says  they  are thrilled this  has  made  it  all  the  way  to  the Governor's Desk. Moran says there  are a lot of state employees who are currently not receiving the same  pay  for  doing  the  same  work  and  she hopes

Governor Jindal will sign this bill into law.

 

Two far-reaching House-approved bills that sought to prohibit federal oversight of gun laws in Louisiana have stalled in the state Senate and apparently won’t become law this session. Promoted as states’ rights measures against what backers called an increasingly intrusive federal government, the proposals were easily approved in the Louisiana House despite concerns that they were unconstitutional. But senators have shelved the measures through procedural moves, creating hurdles that appear unable to be met by session’s end Thursday.

 

A  former  accountant  at  the Louisiana Department  of  Health  and Hospitals  faces  over  100 years  in  prison  after  she  allegedly swindled over one-million  dollars  from the state's Medicaid program and used the stolen cash to gamble. Attorney  General Buddy Caldwell announced the arrest of 46-year-old Deborah Loper of Baton Rouge.

 

Acadia  Parish deputies say they've identified the body  found  last week by a  boy  riding  his  4-wheeler.  The  remains  are  those of 31-year-old  Thomas  Mendoza,  a  citizen  of  Honduras.  An autopsy determined  Mendoza died of multiple stab wounds to his upper  body. A Crowley man has been arrested in connection with the murder.

 

College students will be paying extra fees this fall, including one for campus building maintenance, if Gov. Bobby Jindal goes along with legislation that won final legislative approval on Tuesday. The Louisiana House voted 71-16 to Senate changes, then shipped the legislation to Jindal’s desk. House Bill 671, sponsored by state Rep. Franklin Foil, R-Baton Rouge, would allow up to a $48 per semester fee for repairs and renovations to buildings on public college campuses. The schools face a $1.7 billion backlog of projects for which state funding has been lagging.

 

Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden said Tuesday that he’s 80 percent sure he will run for Louisiana lieutenant governor in 2015. Holden, a Democrat, was sworn into his third term as East Baton Rouge mayor president in January. The term ends the last day of 2016, but he would leave the mayor’s office a year early if elected lieutenant governor.

 

Home-based cookie and cake preparation businesses would no longer fall under the state sanitary code under a bill that won final legislative approval Tuesday. The Louisiana House and Senate agreed to a conference committee report settling differences between the two chambers. Today, the sanitary code exemption applies to preparation of jellies, preserves, jams, honey and honeycomb products made in the home for sale. Gross annual sales cannot exceed $5,000. The new bill would add cookies and cakes to that list and raise gross annual sales to $20,000

 

A Terrytown woman is arrested for stealing  over  a hundred thousand dollars  from  her employer. 38-year-old Kristen Carroll  worked  at Greco's restaurant,  and  reportedly  skimmed  the  money  from bank deposits to support her gambling habit. The alleged theft took place between 2011 and 2012.

 

New specialty “I’m Cajun” and “I’m Creole” vehicle license plates are just around the corner. Legislation that would create the prestige plates won final legislative passage Tuesday on a 92-0 vote. That sent the measure to the governor’s desk.

 

Police in Shreveport say a man is in serious condition in a hospital after being stabbed by his wife several times while he was sleeping. Sgt Bill Goodin says 54-year-old Curtis  Johnson  was  found  in his home  with nearly a dozen stab wounds. He says detectives identified 33-year-old Tracy Johnson as the prime suspect in the stabbing. Goodin  says  Johnson  is  in  serious condition, but is expected to survive.

 

 

Sports..

 

The  times are set for the NCAA Super Regionals this weekend and LSU is set  to  face  Oklahoma  at The Box, 6pm Friday. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN. Saturday's game is also at 6. LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri announces Aaron Nola will be the  starting pitcher in Game 1 of the Super Regional series against  Oklahoma. Mainieri says Nola will most likely match up against the  Sooners' ace Jonathan Gray on Friday night

News For Tuesday 06/04/13


News for Tuesday 060413

By Dave Graichen

 

Cleco has once again sent crews Monday  to  assist  in  Oklahoma City after   Friday's  storm  that  damaged  Oklahoma  Gas  and  Electric Company's  system. According to a release, the work during the first trip to the  city  of  Moore  was so extensive they worked on basics like replacing poles. This storm did not create that type of damage,

but 33 Cleco line mechanics will  be  working  to restore the area's power to assist in recovery efforts.

 

The Rapides Parish Police Jury’s Finance Committee approved the sale of the Martin Luther King Jr. library branch building to Pill Box pharmacy owner Joe Williams Monday. The jury is expected to finalize the $78,000 sale at its regular meeting next Monday.

Williams said once the sale is final, “we’ll start rehabbing the building immediately.” He expects renovations to take a month or two to complete.

 

The  hurricane  forecasting  team  at Colorado State University says they'll stick with their prediction  of  18  named storms this year. CSU  researcher Dr. Phil Klotbach says the above  average  hurricane season   is   based   on  unusually  warm  waters  in  the  tropical Atlantic. He says the probability of a major hurricane landfall along the Gulf

Coast this year is 47%.

 

Louisiana  Tech  is  receiving  more accolades as the university has been named in the Top 25 schools  in  the  nation  that  provide its graduates  with  the  best  returns  on  their  investments  or ROI. The report was  put  together by an online financial news site which uses data from PayScale.com  who  rank  Tech  No. 1 in Louisiana for starting salaries of its graduates.

 

A House bill that would loosen criminal penalties for those convicted  of marijuana possession will be considered by a Senate Committee today.  The lower chamber passed the bill by New Orleans Representative Austin  Badon last week. Badon says sentencing currently in place for those  caught with pot makes no sense.  Badon says he hopes the bill will make it out of committee today then  pass the Senate Floor tomorrow.

 

Tangipahoa Parish deputies say early yesterday morning they  found  a 5-month-old baby alone in  a home with two dead people. Investigators  believe  26-year-old Brandon  Colona  shot and killed his girlfriend, 21-year-old Theresa Doby, then turned  the  gun  on  himself. The baby is OK, and in the care of a family member. Deputies  say Colona's motive is unclear at

this time.

 

An Allen Parish judge sets  bail  for  a couple accused of the April death of two-year-old child. Brandi Holyfield is the child's mother. she  and  live-in boyfriend Bobby DAvis Jr.  are  charged  with  2nd degree murder  and  conspiracy  to commit murder. A coroner's report indicated the baby died of blunt force trauma. Bond for the pair are set at $225-thousand each.

 

A bill that sets up clear rules about using a surrogate mother to have a  child is on its way to the Governor's desk. Norco Senator Gary Smith is  the bill's sponsor. He says current state law is extremely vague in this  area.  The bill has cleared both House & Senate, though many don't like it.  Smith says liberals object that it applies only to married couples;  meaning same-sex couples would be excluded. Louisiana Family Forum  president Gene Mills says conservative groups like his object to parts

 of the bill pertaining to reimbursement of the surrogate birth mother.  Mills says the LA. Family Forum feels  the bill will further erode the traditional family, and he's urging the Governor to veto.

 

Police in Opelousas arrest a man for  leaving  his  four  kids  in a locked  SUV  while  he  was in a bar shooting pool. Justin Rosette's kids were all between 1 and  11  years old. Rosette was charged with child desertion and drug possession.

 

The Slidell Police Department says a Mississippi  woman was arrested twice  in 24 hours for driving drunk. They say 26-year-old  Marjorie Portier  exhibited  signs of intoxication when she left a party at a bar Saturday morning  at  2:30 and was arrested for DUI. Police then arrested Portier leaving another  bar  the  next  night when she was

driving under the influence again. The incidents were  her first and second offense.

 

Folks on both sides of  the Mississippi River are upset to learn the state is shutting down the White Castle Ferry later this month. DOTD says it costs over million  dollars a year to run and it provides no state or regional transportation;  only local service. Residents are angry to hear that, as driving to the  nearest  bridge  to cross the

river will add dozens of miles to their daily travel; not to mention the additional fuel expense. The ferry is set to close on June 28th.

 

News For Monday 06/03/13


News for Monday 060313

By Dave Graichen

 

The state Senate adopted a $25 billion state spending plan Saturday that would create one-time salary supplements for public schoolteachers and school nurses. After 31/2 hours of debate, the Senate voted 37-1 in favor of sending House Bill 1, the main budget legislation, to the House for concurrence on the changes. Lawmakers who helped craft the House version of the $25 billion budget said Sunday that they don’t support the Senate’s changes to the spending plans for next year. The document is a radical makeover of the budget the House sent the Senate in May. Differences will need to be worked out in five days. The session ends at 6 p.m. Thursday.

 

Governor Jindal signs legislation that's designed to make it easier for  Louisiana families to adopt children who are in the state's foster care  system. The law is called the Louisiana Has Faith in Families Act.  Jindal says one critical component of the act is that it reduces the  wait time for adoptions to be completed.  State officials say there are about five-hundred children in foster care  available to be placed in a permanent home.

 

Opelousas State Senator Elbert Guillory has left the state's Democratic  Party and become a Republican; making him the only black GOP member in  the state Legislature. Guillory says over the past few years, the  Democrats have become what he calls "the Party of Disappointment", and  remain out of touch on several issues. Guillory made his announcement as he received the Frederick Douglass  Award at a national conference of black conservatives in Baton Rouge.

 

With the hurricane season underway, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon  urges homeowners to make sure they understand their level of coverage.  Donelon says read your policy so you understand the deductible you'll  pay, if your home is damaged by a named storm. He says it varies  depending on the insurance provider. Donelon says now is the time to get flood insurance, if you don't have  it. He says it will be too late, once a storm enters the gulf.

 

A 13-year-old boy came across a badly decomposed male body in Acadia  Parish. Sheriff's office spokesperson Maxine Trahan says the teenager  was riding his four-wheeler at an oil well site near Rayne when he made  the grisly discovery. The Acadia Parish Coroner's office says the body may have been there  less than a week. Trahan says they are treating the case as a homicide  and they sent the body to Lake Charles for an autopsy.

 

A bill creating increased penalties for acts of domestic violence  involving burning the victim has won final passage, and is going to the  Governor's desk. The bill was conceived by Ouachita and Morehouse Parish  D.A. Jerry Jones, who says a case he prosecuted in 2010--in which a  woman suffered 24 hours of such abuse--was his inspiration. Under current state law, a person committing such a crime could only be sentenced to 15 years in jail. Under the new law, the sentence could be up to 50 years.

 

Starting August 1st, it will be illegal to use a hand held device for  social networking while driving. Louisiana Highway Safety Commission  director John LeBlanc says using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any  internet browsing can get you a fine of $175 or more.  The bill amends the state's existing ban on texting while driving, to  encompass using a smartphone or tablet to read or send anything from  behind the wheel. LeBlanc says the law contains exceptions for checking  one's GPS for directions.

 

The  LSU baseball team heads to the the NCAA Super Regionals after they defeat UL-Lafayette 5-1 on Sunday night in Alex Box Stadium. LSU is slated to take Oklahoma this weekend at the Box.

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