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News For Friday 120916


News for Friday 120916

By Dave Graichen

 

It’s a chilly day across the Bayou State. Tim Humphrey with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles says it won’t get much warmer as the day goes on. Humphrey says things will start to warm up again early next week, getting into the 50s and 60s around the state.

 

Tiz the season, as Christmas parades will roll all across Cenla this weekend. Tonight, it’s the Pineville Christmas parade. Starting at 7 the parade will roll up main street from the former Huey P. Long Medical Center and wrap up at the Trotter Center on Military Highway. In Ball it’s Saturday afternoon at 2 and in Glenmora at noon.  The Alexandria Christmas Parade begins at 2 p.m. Sunday. The route begins at Metro drive traveling down Jackson street extension, and ends at Alexandria Senior High School. A bit of advice, Dress warm!

 

You’ve probably seen the video on Facebook and TV, a man stealing Christmas decorations from a home in Alexandria. Yesterday, 36-year-old Michael Cryer of Leesville was arrested and charged with lifting the decorations from three different homes late last month. Cryer was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center. Police say some of the stolen property was recovered.

 

President-elect Donald Trump will be in Baton Rouge today to support Republican John Kennedy in the US Senate race. The visit comes after Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence endorsed the State Treasurer. Kennedy says he’s humbled by Mr. Trump’s visit.

Kennedy has been leading in the polls since the primary, but he says he’s not taking anything for granted. He hopes the visit from the President-elect will encourage voters to get out to the polls on Saturday.

 

Jurors heard important testimony from Kevin O’ Neal during the Will Smith shooting trial Thursday. O’ Neal is a long time friend of Cardell Hayes, who is charged with second-degree murder. O’Neal was in Hayes hummer during the car accident that sparked the shooting. O’Neal says at no time was Hayes the aggressor in the heated situation. O’ Neal also said that the last time he saw the former Saints player alive, his wife was trying to push him away from the dispute.

 

A low voter turnout is expected for Saturday and Secretary of State Tom Schedler says that’s why he will push the Louisiana legislature to do away with December federal elections. He says not only is turnout low, it’s also hard to find commissioners to work during the holidays.

Schedler says it would make more sense to have the primary in October and then a November run-off.

 

Out of the three federal races on Saturday’s ballot, it appears the third congressional district race is the most competitive. ULM Political Science Professor John Sutherlin says Republican Clay Higgins is riding a wave of anti-establishment politicians.

 

An Affordable Housing Expo will be held in Baton Rouge this weekend for flood victims. Mike Steele with GOHSEP says there are people at different stages of recovery, so there will be a variety of housing options on display. He says people can come see manufactured homes, trailers and pre-fab housing. The expo will be open today and tomorrow at Celtic Studios.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards talked about some of his priorities for 2017 during a speech at the Council for a Better Louisiana annual conference. Edwards says his big goal is to ensure the state uses money from the Transportation Trust Fund in the right places.  The governor’s task force on transportation will likely support a higher gasoline tax in order to improve our highways and bridges.

 

Life expectancy has decreased in the US for the first time in more than 20 years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The report found that overall life expectancy dropped by one month from 2014 to 2015. Doctor Ben Springgate with LSU Health New Orleans says

life expectancy has increased in years past, because of medical advances. But he says health outcomes are declining because of people’s lifestyles.

 

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News For Thursday 120816


News For Thursday 120816

By Dave Graichen

 

Strange story out of Avoyelles parish. An entire family from Bunkie has been arrested on bomb making charges. Avoyelles Sheriff Doug Anderson says they executed a warrant on 38-year-old Jenus Juneau, who was accused of stealing $12-thousand worth of household goods, guns, and jewelry on Sunday. Anderson says Juneau’s wife, Kristina, and their two 19-year-old children were also charged with manufacture and possession of a delayed action incendiary device. He says they’re still working to determine why this family was making pipe bombs.

 

The Town Talk Reports Rapides Parish school employees won't see a pay supplement this Christmas like they have the past four years. School Board members voted earlier in the week  6-3 not to pay stipends They also heard a report from the finance department detailing a roughly $800,000 shortfall faced due to loss of MFP funds from lower enrollment. The full story is in today’s Town Talk.

 

Cold temperatures are on the way to the Bayou State. That’s according to state climatologist Barry Keim, who says it’s time for Louisianans to break out the winter gear. High temperatures will only be in the 40s today with lows in the upper 20 here in Cenla tonight.

 

The US House Appropriations Committee has approved a continuing resolution that contains $1.2 billion in Community Development Block Grants for Louisiana flood relief. The Governor’s Communications director Richard Carbo adds that Congress should vote on the proposal by the end of the week, which will also contain dollars to fund other flood repair projects. Carbo says the state will still need federal assistance beyond this and we’ll go back to Washington DC again in April.

 

Former New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas took the stand Wednesday in the murder trial of Will Smith. Thomas, who had dined with Smith earlier in the evening and later ended up at the scene of the incident, testified during direct examination that Cardell Hayes was the only person who ever had a gun and that he fired shots that killed Smith. The defense is arguing Smith was the aggressor. This comes a day after emotional testimony from Smith’s wife who insists her husband did nothing wrong.

 

WWL-TV in New Orleans is reporting that the body of slain NFL football player Joe McKnight has been retrieved from the funeral home for more forensic testing. Ronald Gasser has been charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of McKnight.

 

A landmark mental health reform bill co-authored by Republican U.S Senator Bill Cassidy is on its way to be signed into law by the President. Cassidy says this measure will expand access to resources for those who need treatment for mental illnesses. The Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 also strengthens suicide prevention. And he says the measure will provide more funding for the massive opioid crisis.

 

A report from American Builders and Contractors ranks Louisiana as the best business climate for construction. Vice President of Governmental Affairs with ABC of Louisiana, John Walters, says that’s due in large part to legislation state lawmakers have passed that benefits the construction industry. Another ABC report ranked Louisiana 8th for year-to-year changes in the construction unemployment rate. Walters says that’s because projects come and go in the Bayou State. But he’s optimistic that this new ranking will persuade more companies to build in Louisiana.

 

Bond was denied for one of the suspects in the Bourbon Street shooting that left one dead and nine other wounded. Prosecutors say the fight between Jordan Clay and Travon Manuel stemmed from a feud over a woman who is reportedly Clay’s ex-girlfriend and the mother of Manuel’s infant child. After the hearing, Manuel was remanded in custody without bail.

 

Donald Trump will be in Baton Rouge Friday to support Republican John Kennedy in the US Senate race. UL-Lafayette political science Professor Pearson Cross says the visit isn’t really necessary, as Kennedy has a double digit lead over Democrat Foster Campbell, but it’s a nice gesture. The event begins at noon in the Dow Chemical Hangar at the Baton Rouge Airport.

 

A Calcasieu Parish cat is missing after authorities say an escaped inmate stole a hearse with the feline inside. Police say 26-year-old Johnathan Alexander stole the hearse used by Pet Angels crematory when the trusty walked off a job. The hearse was found in range, Texas, and Alexander was apprehended in another stolen vehicle. The cat has yet to be found.

 

Sports..

 

LSU releases the details of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s contract extension, which runs through 2020, includes a first-year salary of $1.8 million. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham expects whoever is hired as offensive coordinator will receive a similar salary. Aranda is now the highest paid assistant in college football

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News For Wednesday 120716


News for Wednesday 120716

By Dave Graichen

 

At a budget hearing Tuesday morning at the State Capitol, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told lawmakers not only does the state have to address a $313 million deficit for this fiscal year, there’s another $300 million shortfall looming. He says that means state agencies will face more budget cuts. Dardenne says once again higher education and healthcare are on the chopping block.

 

Some LSU fans are gearing up to head to Orlando for the Citrus Bowl later this month, but so far ticket sales are lagging a bit. That’s according to LSU ticket manager, Brian Broussard, who says so far only about 4-thousand tickets have been sold. The Tigers will face Louisville in the bowl game on December 31. Broussard says they still have over 5-thousand tickets available through their ticket office and you can get a good seat at a good price.

 

There are reports that President-elect Donald Trump will be in Baton Rouge on Friday afternoon. Mr. Trump will apparently visit the Bayou State to show his support for Treasurer John Kennedy in the U.S. Senate race. Trump visited Baton Rouge earlier this year and over 10-thousand people came to the event at the Baton Rouge River Center.

 

The man who admitted to shooting former-NFL player Joe McKnight is now behind bars. 54-year-old Robert Gasser has been charged with manslaughter. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand says they waited to make an arrest, so they can talk with more independent witnesses. Normand says there’s a chance the charge could be upgraded or downgraded based on further evidence.

 

Saints Quarterback Drew Brees and his wife were among some big names appearing yesterday in the trial of the man who is accused of murdering former New Orleans player Will Smith. Deuce McAllister was a teammate of Smith’s, he got emotional on the stand while  talking about the death of his friend. Cardell Hayes faces life in prison if convicted of second degree murder. Defense lawyers assert Hayes acted in self-defense.

 

Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy announced Tuesday a deal has been struck to steer $1.24 billion more in federal flood aid to Louisiana, about $1 billion less than what the delegation hoped would be secured in the lame-duck session of Congress. The House will likely vote on the measure Thursday followed by Senate action Friday.

 

Louisiana broke the state’s record for the number of foster children adoptions within a year. 735 children were adopted by 532 families between October of 2015 and September of 2016. Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says all of the children in state care have a history of either abuse or neglect with a big majority being under the age of five. She says while it’s exciting so many children found foster homes, many are still without a family. For information on adopting a foster child, visit the department of children and family services website.

 

With people getting ready to hit the road for holiday travels, AAA warns drivers to avoid drowsy driving. According to the AAA Foundation report, you double the chances of getting into a wreck if you only get 5 to 6 hours of sleep, and the risk increases by 11 if you get less than four hours of shut eye. Spokesperson Don Redman says nearly 21-percent of fatal crashes result in people falling asleep behind wheel, resulting in about 75-hundred fatalities nationwide a year.

 

Fort Polk has moved the first round of horses off their land because there are safety concerns about wild horses roaming the Vernon Parish army base. Fort Polk spokesperson Troy Darr says they sent 50 horses to the Humane Society of North Texas in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He says they plan to rehome the remaining 650 horses in the same manner. Advocates have expressed concerns that the horses could be sent to kill buyers or unfit owners, and the groups have called on Fort Polk to let the horses stay on their land.

 

A Monroe woman is facing multiple charges after she was caught shoplifting with her children. Detective Chris Bates with Monroe Police says 33-year-old Shirley Mayes and her 9-year-old and 14-year-old were caught stealing from the Monroe Walmart. Bates says Mayes faces charges of misdemeanor shoplifting, criminal conspiracy, and three counts of contributing to child delinquency.

 

The Baton Rouge man accused of murdering and dismembering his parents in Tennessee over the Thanksgiving holiday did not waive extradition Tuesday, meaning he will not yet return to Knoxville. 28-year-old Joel Michael Guy Jr.’s lawyers say their client is not the person that Tennessee law enforcement officials want. Another hearing has been scheduled for December 16.

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News For Tuesday 120616


News for Tuesday 120616

By Dave Graichen

 

Congratulations are in order for the Six Rapides Parish educators who were honored Monday as one of the district's top teachers or principals. This year’s winners  Emily Weeks,  teacher at Julius Patrick Elementary in Alexandria. Sarah Butler,  teacher at Caroline Dormon Junior High in Woodworth.  Mary Lee Mattox, teacher at Tioga High School. Deidra Shores, Pineville Elementary principal. Dana Nolan, Pineville Junior High principal and Dewayne Vines, Buckeye High School principal. All Recipients of the Teacher and Principle of the year title are eligible to become nominees for the state title.

 

The numbers are in and they show only 171-thousand ballots were cast during the early voting period which ended last Saturday. John Couvillion, with JMC Analytics, says the early voting totals were impressive for the November election, but not so much this time for the runoff.

Polls are open this Saturday from 7 AM to 8 PM.

 

Tulane has published an online survey that found 59-percent of the respondents are supporting Republican John Kennedy in the U.S. Senate run-off. Democrat Foster Campbell, received 40-percent. Tulane political science professor Brian Brox says the survey also found that 31-percent of the residents who voted for Hillary Clinton in the Presidential election, will not vote for Campbell in this runoff.

 

In a new ad, Governor John Bel Edwards asks residents to vote for Democrat Foster Campbell in Saturday’s US Senate race. In the 30-second spot, Edwards says Campbell could be the deciding vote against substantial cuts to social security and Medicare. ULM political science Professor Dr. Joshua Stockley says as popular as the governor is, this ad likely won’t do much to help Campbell.

 

New Orleans will now be featured as part of the 2017 Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest. Local Representative for Dick Clark Productions Gary Solomon says this is the first time in the show’s history that there will be another countdown in the Central time zone. He says it’s a real game changer for the Crescent City… Solomon says Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin eve will cut to New Orleans throughout the five and a half hour nationally televised show.

 

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating a drowning in Lake Charles that claimed the life of a 14-year-old boy. They say friends reported the teen slipped and fell into a canal and was swept through a culvert that was about 75 feet long. His body was later located several hundred feet away. The investigation is ongoing.

 

Senator David Vitter gave his farewell speech on the Senate floor Monday, as he will leave the office he’s held since January 2005. Vitter says as a Louisiana state legislator he worked to impose term limits here, as well as authoring the leading term limits measure for Congress. He says that’s why he’s imposing one on himself. The outgoing Senator thanked members of his team, his colleagues, and friends in Washington. But he says he owes the most to his wife, Wendy.

 

We can expect to see some Louisiana leaders working in the Trump Administration either in the cabinet or administrative positions, according to Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta, who led the Trump campaign in Louisiana. He says federal lawmakers from this state are recommending Louisiana residents to the transition team.

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has received 21 whooping cranes from Maryland in the last week, giving the Bayou State a total of 25 large birds that have been delivered to this state this year. LDWF Biologist Sara Zimorski says the Whooping Cranes will be spread out between two facilities. Zimorski says currently, there are released 38 birds in the wild and the new arrivals will be counted into the population in a few weeks. The whooping crane was considered extinct in Louisiana in 1950, but for the last six years the state has been working to restore a solid population of these large birds back into the state.

 

Officials with the Camping World Independence Bowl in Shreveport are excited about their December 26th contest that pits North Carolina State versus Vanderbilt. Bowl Spokesperson Stefan Nolet says the ACC and SEC matchup marks the second time in three seasons the two conferences have played each other in this bowl. Kick off for the Independence Bowl is at 4 p.m.

 

LSU running back Leonard Fournette announced Monday that he will enter the NFL draft after the Tiger’s Citrus Bowl game on December 31. The announcement came on twitter, where Fournette also stated that he does plan to play in the game against Louisville, despite an ankle injury. Fournette has 3,755 yards for his career, which is the fourth highest in LSU history. NFL Draft Analyst Mike Detillier believes LSU running back Leonard Fournette will be a top five pick in the 2017 NFL draft.

 

Louisiana Tech is heading to the Armed Forces Bowl to take on 25th ranked Navy on December 23. Athletic Director Tommy McClelland says they were offered the option to play Army in the Heart of Dallas Bowl or the top 25 team. He says they chose the game that would give players a new experience. McClelland expects between 500 and a thousand students will attend the game.

 

Officials with the R-and-L Carriers New Orleans Bowl are expecting a big crowd for its bowl game on December 17th in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. On that night, the Ragin Cajuns will face Southern Miss. Jay Cicero, C-E-O of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, says they expect 40-to-45-thousand fans for what should be a great game.

 

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News For Monday 120516


News for Monday 120516

By Dave Graichen

 

Despite nasty weather Saturday, Alexandria officials say they were very happy with this year’s turnout for Alex Winter Fete. The numbers haven’t been crunched yet, but attendance was very good for opening night Thursday and Friday night as well. However Saturday was a different story with heavy rain cancelling the remainder of the festival’s activities early in the day. To the north in Natchitoches, That city’s festival of lights was cancelled as well.

 

The Louisiana Department of Health reminds the public that December is the start of peak flu season. Dr. Frank Welch with LDH says we’re at a higher risk of catching the flu during the holiday season. Welch advises people to clean frequently used surfaces like door knobs when they have people in their homes. He says it’s not too late to get a flu shot, but  keep in mind, the shot takes two weeks to take effect.

 

Two arrests have been made in the case of the Bourbon Street shooting that left one man  dead and 9 others injured. NOPD Chief Michael Harrison says 20-year-olds Jordan Clay and Kavon Manuel of Lafayette have been charged with 2nd degree murder. He says a multi-agency investigation led to the suspects’ arrest. The suspects also face 9 counts of attempted murder.

 

The jury selection is expected to begin today in the trial of Cardell Hayes, the man accused of killing Former Saints defensive end Will Smith. A judge has determined that the jury will be sequestered for the entire trial.  Legal Analyst Chick Foret says it will be hard for potential jurors to leave their families during the holiday season. Jurors will not have access to TV’s or telephones. But Foret says Judge Camille Buras has promised to move the case along quickly and trial testimony will be heard even on weekends.

 

The Edwards’ family is getting in the holiday spirit as they will spend their first Christmas in the Governor’s Mansion. The family was displaced during the August flooding but are now settling back into life in the mansion. First Lady Donna Edwards has been revamping the mansion since moving back into the home. The basement took on 7 feet of water during the August flood.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards announces FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program have extended the deadline for submitting proof of loss for claims resulting from the August flood. Edwards filed for the claim extension last week. The extension means policy holders will have a total of 180 days after the loss to provide proof to providers.

 

A recent poll from Southern Media and Opinion Research finds Governor John Bel Edwards’ approval rating is at 63-percent. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says that’s a big improvement over the governor’s approval rating earlier this year. A poll from Morning Consult found Edwards’ approval rating was only 45-percent in the spring, while a UNO poll showed 56-percent of respondents approved of his job performance in October. Pinsonat says Edwards’ response to all the floods, tornadoes, and other issues the state has seen this year may have helped boost his numbers.

 

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand held a news conference Friday to update the case surrounding the death of former NFL player Joe McKnight during an apparent road rage incident. Multiple protests are taking place over the fact that the shooter, 54-year-old Ronald Gasser, was released claiming self-defense. According authorities, McKnight exited his car and was shot by Gasser as he approached the shooter’s passenger window. It says Gasser fired 3 rounds from a .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun from the driver’s seat of his car, and three hit McKnight. Normand said Gasser did not stand over McKnight as reports have stated and that there were 3 casings located inside the vehicle. He also says there was no video. Normand says Gasser admitted to shooting McKnight, but has not been charged pending the outcome of the investigation.

 

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser extends the France-Louisiana Cooperation Accords for four more years.  Nungesser says it’s a program that brings French teachers to teach the French history, culture, and language in Louisiana schools. The agreement extends the mutual agreement until 2020.

 

Three DOW Chemical plant employees who were being monitored after a chemical leak have been released, after a chlorine leak was reported Friday afternoon. Three employees were reportedly observed at the Plaquemine facility’s onsite health services center, and 16 others drove themselves to local hospitals. All non-essential employees were evacuated after the small chlorine leak reportedly happened when the plant lost power.

 

The Saints appear to be heading towards another losing season as New Orleans played poorly in a 28-13 loss to the Detroit Lions. The Black and Gold committed 10 penalties and Quarterback Drew Brees threw three interceptions.

 

The 20th ranked LSU Tigers will get a chance to spend the final week of 2016 in sunny Florida where they'll play 13th ranked Louisville in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on December 31st. It will be an early start on New Year's eve day as the game will kickoff at 11 AM eastern, 10 AM central time.

 

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News For Friday 120216


News For Friday 120216

By Dave Graichen

 

The 2nd annual Alex Winter Fête is underway in Alexandria. The three day festival drew almost 30-thousand people in its inaugural year. Director of Community Services, Daniel Williams, says this year will be bigger and better than last year. Tonight, It's fireworks!

 

Early voting ends tomorrow and turnout has been lower than expected. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says we’re seeing about 22-thousand voters at the polls a day during this early voting week, down 10-thousand a day from the primary. For early voting the polls are open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

The football world is mourning the death of Joe McKnight, who was fatally shot in what authorities believe was a road rage incident in Jefferson Parish. McKnight was one of the top high school football players in the country coming out of John Curtis High School in 2006. McKnight played at USC and was drafted by the New York Jets and also played for the Kansas City Chiefs. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand says the shooter turned his gun and himself into authorities.

 

Big news yesterday from Louisiana College. President Rick Brewer announced new academic programs coming to the school. The college plans to launch a Bachelor of Computer Science, Master of Science in Social Work and fully-online Master of Science in Nursing. The new programs still need the approval of SACS, the school’s accrediting body, but school officials expect the new offerings will available in the Fall of next year.

 

Medicaid enrollment has surpassed the 351,000 mark under the expansion of the program, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. Secretary Rebekah Gee says the Medicaid expansion should lead to better health outcomes for working citizens who were previously uninsured. Gee says they are still unclear with will happen with the expanded Medicaid program when President-elect Trump takes office.

 

A bill co-authored by US Senator Bill Cassidy that seeks to reform mental healthcare has passed the US House and could receive Senate approval next week. He says the bill should foster more mental health professionals, as well as create more outpatient treatment settings. Cassidy says this legislation is two years in the making, with the goal of making sure patients are not denied care.

 

Vice President-elect Mike Pence will be in New Orleans tomorrow hosting a get-out-the vote rally to spotlight the U.S. Senate race. Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere says Pence will encourage voters to head to the polls on December 10th and cast their ballot for Republican Treasurer John Kennedy.

 

A new poll from Southern Media and Opinion Research finds Republican John Kennedy still has a strong lead over Democrat Foster Campbell in the US Senate race. Kennedy leads Campbell 52 to 38-percent just over a week before the December 10th runoff.

 

An extradition hearing yesterday to determine if a man from Baton Rouge will be returned to Tennessee to face charges for his parents’ murder will be rescheduled because the suspect was not ready to make a decision. 28 year old Joel Michael Guy Jr. is facing two counts of first degree murder for allegedly killing and dismembering his parents over the Thanksgiving holiday in Knoxville. The extradition hearing is slated to take place next week.

 

Bayou Country Superfest has announced the lineup for next year’s festival, which includes headliners Blake Shelton and his ex-wife Miranda Lambert. Other headliners include Thomas Rhett, Brooks & Dunn, Rascal Flatts, and Hank Williams Jr. The three day festival was moved to the Superdome because of renovations to Tiger Stadium. Tickets go on sale next week.

 

The Cajundome officially reopened last night with a brand new look, after a 22-million dollar renovation. Cajundome Director Greg Davis says the new improvements will help with getting big name acts.

 

Democratic Congressman Cedric Richmond, who represents New Orleans and parts of the Baton Rouge area, has been elected chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Richmond was just elected to a fourth term and he will take over for US Representative G-K Butterfield of North Carolina.

 

Houston has reportedly contacted former LSU Coach Les Miles about its coaching vacancy. There also reports that Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin is a candidate for that job.

 

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News For Thursday 120116


News for Thursday 120116

By Dave Graichen

 

Governor John Bel Edwards is in Washington DC today to meet with congressional leaders to discuss more federal funding for Louisiana’s flood recovery. Edwards estimates it will take more than $3.7 billion for the state to recover from the two historic floods in March and August. So far, Louisiana has received $438 million in federal assistance.

 

The Alexandria City Council has accepted the donation of the Weiss & Goldring building Tuesday night.  The building, which has been vacant since the early 90’s, was built around 1900 and is one of the few surviving buildings from that period still standing downtown. In a terrible state of disrepair, there is no doubt, the building was facing demolition. The hope is that the city can find a private developer willing to rehabilitate the building, or form a public-private partnership to reuse it.

 

It is hard to believe that today is the first day of December. It is also the first day of the 12 days of Christmas in Alexandria / Pineville and the first night of Alex Winter Fête. Alexandria Mayor Jacques M. Roy says this year Winter Fête  will offers something for people of all ages. The festival begins at 5 p.m tonight. City officials say the event will go on Rain or Shine. Which shouldn’t be an issue Tonight or tomorrow.. However, the weekend may prove to be a different issue as rain is in the forecast.

 

A Florien teen died Tuesday afternoon after he hit a train at a marked crossing. Kevin Brown was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. The State Police report that Brown failed to yield to a northbound Kansas City Southern train.

 

OPEC members have made the decision to slow crude oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day starting next year. The announcement led to an eight-percent increase in oil prices as they were trading at around 50-dollars a barrel. Executive Director for LSU’s Center for Energy Studies, David Dismukes, says it’s a nice sign for Louisiana’s oil industry, which has been lagging because of low oil prices. Dismukes says this announcement from OPEC is not enough to jump start drilling in this state.

 

The Transportation Task Force meets today to further discuss recommendations on how to improve the states’ roads and bridge. Recommendations are expected to be released later this month for the legislature to consider. House Transportation Chairman and State Rep. Kenny Havard anticipates there will be a proposal to increase the state’s gasoline tax, which is currently at 20-cents a gallon

 

The Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating an extremely disturbing case of a 51-year-old Air force Veteran who is accused of raping several foster children in his care. They say the investigation began after one of the victims came forward, and during questioning of 51-year-old Terral Parfait, he admitted to everything. Parfait faces many charges including three counts of 1st degree rape of three boys under the age of 12 — and cops fear there are more victims out there. Parfait is also charged with possession and production of child porn.

 

A Baton Rouge college student has been arrested, accused of murdering and dismembering his parents in Tennessee. Knox County Sheriff Major Michael Maclean says they believe 29-year-old Joel Michael Guy Junior turned violent Thanksgiving weekend during an argument about money. MaClean says the victim’s body parts were placed in acid solution in an attempt to cover up the crime.

 

Democratic US Senate candidate Foster Campbell announces he’s raised more than $2 million for his campaign in the last month. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat expects Campbell will use this money to hit the airwaves hard with ads attacking Republican John Kennedy. But he doubts it will be enough for Campbell to win the race.

 

Democratic US Senate candidate Foster Campbell announces he’s raised more than $2 million for his campaign in the last month. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat expects Campbell will use this money to hit the airwaves hard with ads attacking Republican John Kennedy. But he doubts it will be enough for Campbell to win the race.

 

The Feral Hog Management Task Force met Wednesday  to discuss ways to control the state’s wild hog population. Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries veterinarian Dr. Jim LaCour says the state has dedicated 360-thousand dollars towards the problem. He estimates there are more than half a million feral hogs in the state.

 

The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially came to an end Yesterday. This was the first above average season since 2012, during which five named storms made landfall in the US this season.

 

With all the delicious food we eat during the holiday season, it’s easy to pack on a few extra pounds. Exercise Researcher with LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center Dr. Neil Johannsen says watching the food you eat over the next month can help, like eating higher protein foods. He also says at holiday parties avoid overeating. Johannsen says after eating a big meal, try getting a little extra physical activity, instead of sitting on the couch watching football.

 

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News For Wednesday 11/30/16


News for Wednesday 113016

By Dave Graichen

 

Gov. John Bel Edwards will be the keynote speaker at this year's Central Louisiana Regional Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. The 103rd Annual Meeting is Wednesday, Dec. 14 at the Holiday Inn Downtown Alexandria. Lunch will be served at 11:00 a.m. and the program will begin at 11:30 a.m. for ticket info contact the chamber.

 

Lawyers for Louisiana’s governor and attorney general clashed in court Tuesday, in a struggle about the limits of the statewide elected officials’ authority and Gov. John Bel Edwards’ executive order aimed at protecting LGBT rights. Baton Rouge Judge Todd Hernandez heard a full day of witness testimony and legal arguments in the latest in a series of disputes between the Democratic Gov. Edwards and Republican Attorney Jeff Landry. In the end though, the judge made no decision. Instead, Hernandez asked for follow-up written arguments by Friday and said he would make a decision quickly thereafter. The full story is in today’s Town Talk.

 

Pineville PD have arrested 33 year old Justin Perkins after he allegedly battered a woman and then followed her to another location to continue the abuse. Perkins remains in the Rapides Parish Detention Center on charges of domestic abuse by strangulation, domestic abuse aggravated assault and domestic abuse battery.

 

Walgreens Pharmacy has made Naloxone, an opioid antidote, available over the counter in Louisiana. LSU Health New Orleans Professor of Psychiatry James Becnel says there is an opioid overdose every 18 hours in Louisiana. He says not only addicts, but anyone who has an opioid prescription for more than two weeks should purchase naloxone. Becnel says the response from EMS is usually not quick enough, so having naloxone on hand could save someone from dying of an overdose.

 

The AARP Foundation announces one million dollars in donations are being used to assist older individuals impacted by the devastating August flood. Director of AARP Louisiana, Denise Bottcher, says the money went to 16 non-profit organizations who are assisting in the rebuilding efforts. Bottcher says over 74-hundred donors provided money to help older flood victims get back in their homes.

 

It looks like former Governor Bobby Jindal will not head the Department of Health and Human Services as sources say President-elect Trump has selected Georgia US Representative Tom Price. Jindal was rumored to be on a list of those under consideration for the cabinet position. During his own failed presidential campaign, the former governor made several critical statements of Mr. Trump including calling him a narcissist egomaniac.

 

The chairman of the Tulane Earth and Environmental Sciences Department says the implications for coastal Louisiana would likely be devastating if President-elect Donald Trump takes the United States out of a climate change agreement. Tor Tornqvist says if the US doesn’t reduce greenhouse gases, sea levels will rise and swallow Louisiana’s coast. Based on previous statements, Mr. Trump has expressed skepticism about global warming caused by humans.

 

An agreement has been made in a lawsuit accusing Baton Rouge law enforcement of violating the civil rights of people protesting the death of Alton Sterling who was killed during a struggle with officers. The suit said protesters were physically abused and wrongfully arrested. Louisiana ACLU Executive Director Marjorie Esman says they were not seeking monetary damages in this suit. Esman says this agreement simply assures that citizens’ rights are respected moving forward.

 

LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center is looking for people to take part in a groundbreaking study that looks at ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Director for Pennington’s Institute for Dementia Research and Prevention, Jeff Keller, says they are looking at how something like hypertension can cause impairment of brain function. Keller says Alzheimer’s is a complex disease without a cure or any new treatments, and this study aims to figure out which combination of medications and lifestyle changes may help people best avoid the disease.

 

One person was killed in a crash involving a swamp tour airboat in LaFourche Parish. State wildlife and fisheries spokesperson Adam Einck says the airboat hit a mud boat driver near a bend in the waterway and the mudboat driver was not wearing a life jacket and was killed.

 

Metal detectors are one possible idea to preventing future fatal shootings on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Owner of L and R Security Services Inc., Edward Robinson, says it would be tough to do logistically and expensive. He says a lot of planning would need to take place between police and the businesses along the famous street. L and R Security handles checkpoints for various events including Jazz Fest and LSU football games. Robinson says aside from costs, another factor to installing metal detectors is if businesses want to go along with it, as well.

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News For Tuesday 11/29/16


News for Tuesday 112916

By Dave Graichen

 

Voter turnout was low on the first day of early voting for the runoff, and it doesn’t look like it will improve much by December 10. John Couvillon with JMC Analytics says 27-percent of blacks turned out on the first day of early voting for the presidential race, compared to 19-percent on Saturday. Couvillon expects overall turnout will be between 17 and 35-percent. Early voting continues through Saturday.

 

Early voting for the December 10th runoff is underway, and Louisiana’s US Senate race is drawing national attention. Democrat Foster Campbell says he has drawn support from all over the US, as the party’s last hope for closing the Republican majority in the Upper Chamber.

Campbell made his comments at the Baton Rouge Press Club. His opponent, Republican Treasurer John Kennedy declined to attend.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards is hoping the death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro will lead to more trade with the island nation. Edwards, who led a trade mission to Cuba in October, doesn’t expect any changes over night, but hopes Louisiana can return to being a major trade partner. Edwards says if relations with Cuba are restored, it would be good for the state’s rice industry. He says the rice consumption in Cuba per capita is 144 pounds per year.

 

After a weekend shooting that left one man dead and several others injured on Bourbon Street last weekend, New Orleans officials are exploring ways to make the streets. NOPD Chief Michael Harrison says metal detectors are used on Beale Street in Memphis, and that’s not being ruled out for the Big Easy.

 

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is concerned about tourism dropping in New Orleans after the fatal shooting on Bourbon Street last weekend. Nungesser says every negative story impacts a city because people have to feel safe to come here. Nungesser says there are too many criminals walking around because too often these people are in and out of jail. He says something needs to be done to keep dangerous offenders behind bars.

 

Two people are dead and several injured following a shootout in Baton Rouge. State Police Col. Mike Edmonson says Sunday  night police responded to a shooting. He says 48-year-old Terrell Walker allegedly shot his girlfriend, 30-year-old April Peck, multiple times while sitting in a car and then pushed her out of the vehicle.  Edmsonson says Walker was eventually killed during a shootout with East Baton Rouge Sheriff deputies.

 

A Baton Rouge woman is behind bars after she pulled a knife on her husband and then struck him with a Thanksgiving turkey. Sgt. Don Coppola with Baton Rouge Police says 32-year-old Helen Jackson and her husband were arguing when gave him the bird, literally. Jackson is charged with aggravated assault and domestic abuse battery.

 

Louisiana ranks number one in the nation for the best anti-trafficking laws, according to the nonprofit organization Shared Hope International. Franklinton Senator Beth Mizell, who serves on the state’s Human Trafficking Study Commission, says while this is a step in the right direction, more needs to be done to help the victims. Mizell says the first thing we have to do is make sure these victims aren’t treated as delinquents and pushed into the criminal justice system.

 

Sports

 

LSU will find out its bowl game destination on Sunday, but it’s difficult to figure where the Tigers will go. That’s because eight teams in the SEC have either seven or eight wins. Jerry Palm, from on CBS-Sports-dot-com, says his best guest for LSU is either the Outback Bowl in Tampa or the Taxslayer Bowl in Jacksonville. LSU was in the Texas Bowl last year and easily defeated Texas Tech 56-27.

 

This Saturday, Louisiana Tech plays in the Conference USA Championship game against Western Kentucky. If the Bulldogs win they’ll play in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, a loss will send them to the New Orleans Bowl.

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News For Monday 11/28/16


News For Monday 112816

By Dave Graichen

 

Cenla Broadcasting notes the passing of Joy Nalty Hodges late last week. As well as being active in the business community, Hodges devoted her time to a wide range of philanthropic endeavors. The Junior League of Alexandria, the Alexandria Museum of Art, the United Way of Central Louisiana, the YWCA and the Christus St. Frances Cabrini Foundation, just to name a few.. Funeral services and internment will be in New Orleans Saturday. Locally, Hodges' life will be celebrated Friday at St. Frances Cabrini Church with a 9:30 a.m. visitation and a 10 a.m. mass. Joy Hodges was 86.

 

Early voting is underway and Election Day is less than two weeks away, so candidates are campaigning in full swing. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says now is the time for a dash to the finish line. But he says the US Senate and two Congressional elections have been relatively quiet. However, Cross says the race for the 3rd Congressional district seat is really heating up between the two Republicans, Scott Angelle and Clay Higgins.

 

The Louisiana Department of Insurance is urging families to compare rates for auto and homeowners insurance to get the best protection. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says a home and car are the biggest investments people make. The “shop your rates tool” on their website will provide people information on the different types of coverage and what is included and what isn’t. He says the tool will determine the cost of your policy by adding up different factors. The website.. L-D-I-dot-L-A-dot-gov (ldi.la.gov)

 

New stats out are startling. The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services says  Louisiana’s rate of newborns born with drugs and alcohol in their system has tripled over the last 8 years. Regional Administrator for Child Welfare, Denise Evans, says more than 15-hundred babies were born exposed to drugs or alcohol in 2015. She says this causes many health problems for the infant. There were just 569 cases of drug addicted newborns in 2008. Evans says they saw the biggest increase in the use of heroin, marijuana, and prescription drugs.

 

A shooting rampage early Sunday morning In New Orleans  left one person dead and nine others injured. The city was packed with party goers intown for the Bayou Classic. The NOPD reports none of the 10 victims appear to be the shooters' intended targets. Of the 10, one man has died; four people are in still hospitalized, but expected to fully recover; five others have been released from the hospital.

 

Louisiana State Police is reminding hunters to watch where they leave their vehicles or they could be ticketed. LSP says many hunters park their trucks alongside the trees on the side of the highway because it’s easier access to their land but when motorists see cars on the side of the road they often think someone needs help and it becomes a hazard. Parking on the side of a state or federal road is against the law.

 

Sports..

 

The LSU coaching staff is hitting the recruiting trail this week now that they know Ed Orgeron is the permanent head coach. Orgeron says he understands and invites the expectations at LSU and that’s why he wants to build a championship program fast and has a vision to do so.

For Orgeron to be successful, he’ll have to recruit well and he’s already considered one of the best recruiters in college football.

 

The Saints offense was nearly unstoppable Sunday as New Orleans kept its playoff hopes alive with a 49-21 win over the Los Angeles Rams. The Black and Gold had 555 total yards, 346 through the air, 209 on the ground on 32 rush attempts. Quarterback Drew Brees threw for 310 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Mark Ingram rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown, while rookie receiver Michael Thomas had 9 catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns.

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News For Wednesday 112316


News for Wednesday 112316

By Dave Graichen

 

State auditors are trying to find out where $25 million in the Attorney General’s escrow fund has gone. AG Jeff Landry blames his predecessor’s poor record keeping for why his office can’t account for 28 transactions. But Beth Davis with the legislative auditor’s office says the transactions took place over the span of two fiscal years, six months of which were under Landry’s administration. Davis says the fund contains money from court settlements, fines, and other penalties.

 

The December 2 US Senate candidate debate has been cancelled after the two candidates heading to the runoff couldn’t agree whether or not to hold the televised debate in front of a live audience. Republican John Kennedy reportedly did not want a live audience present, while Democrat Foster Campbell did. It looks like voters won’t get to hear from the candidates again before the December 10 runoff.

 

The Louisiana State University System announced Tuesday their search was over and that Guiyou Huang has been named the next chancellor of LSU of Alexandria. He steps into the new role Jan. 1.  The 54 year old Huang currently is the senior vice president for academic affairs, dean of the faculty and professor of English at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont.

 

The Thanksgiving 2016 AAA travel projections forecast that 48.7 million Americans will be traveling for the holiday, a nearly 2% increase over last year. AAA Spokesman Don Redman says they haven’t seen numbers this good since Thanksgiving 2007. The Thanksgiving Holiday travel period is defined as today through Sunday.

 

As Louisiana families prepare to cook their Thanksgiving feasts, Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain has safety tips for home chefs. Strain cooks should make sure the turkey is fully defrosted before it goes in the oven. But he says it’s important not to wash the turkey before cooking. Splashing water can contaminate the kitchen.  Strain says it will take 24 hours for every five pounds of weight for a turkey to safely defrost in the refrigerator. If defrosting in cold water, he says people should change the water every 30 minutes. He says the only way to determine if a turkey is fully cooked is with a meat thermometer.

 

The White House has urged Congress to award Louisiana with a 3.1 billion dollar disaster assistance package to help Louisiana flood victims. Congress will consider the President’s request after the Thanksgiving holiday. U.S. Representative Garret Graves of Baton Rouge says Louisiana’s Congressional delegation continues to lobby federal lawmakers about the need for assistance. Graves says this money is badly needed, because what FEMA has provided so far has been inadequate.

 

A Monroe couple has donated 90 armored vests to State Police Troop F in Monroe. Bunzy Bryant and his wife Lynn have been friends with the troop for 16 years. Bryant says he considers the troopers family and wants to keep them safe. The high velocity vests even protect against AK-47.

 

One man is dead and a woman injured after they were hit by an 81-year-old trucker around 1am on I-10 near Henderson. State Police Master Trooper Brooks David says 25-year-old Vineeth Keesara of Lafayette was pushing a disabled U-Haul trailer out of the road when they were struck. Keesara was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

LSU’s Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity has indefinitely suspended operations amid allegations of sexual assault at an event last weekend. LSU police say a female reported she was sexually assaulted by an unknown male early Saturday morning during the fraternity’s “PIKE’s Peak” event in the back yard of the frat house, and the alleged victim is not an LSU student. No arrests have been reported in the incident.

 

He was a model officer, or so they thought. The New Orleans Police Department says a 19-year veteran of the force was allegedly a sexual predator for years. Marcellus won an Angel Award for helping underprivileged kids. White faces numerous charges including first degree rape, second degree rap and false imprisonment. His bail has been set for over 2 million dollars.

 

UL-Lafayette Athletic Director Scott Farmer announced yesterday that he is stepping down from the position he has served for the past 5 years. He will move to a teaching position at the university. Deputy Director of Athletics Dr. Jessica Leger will serve as an interim while the school conducts a national search for a full time AD.

 

The festivities for the 43rd Annual Bayou Classic are already underway. Grambling State and Southern, who are undefeated in the SWAC , will go head to head this Saturday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Bayou Classic spokesperson Angela Young says today they’ll celebrate in Joe Brown Park in New Orleans. Friday, a Career and College Expo will be held at Hyatt Regency to give students the chance to apply and interview for jobs, before the Greek Show and the Battle of the Bands later that day. Young says tickets are going fast, as they’ve already sold over 40-thousand tickets to the game.

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News For Tuesday 11/22/16


News for Tuesday 112216

By Dave Graichen

 

Improving race relations was the topic of a roundtable discussion Monday morning in Baton Rouge. Governor John Bel Edwards called the meeting of state and community leaders and says they want to meet with kids in schools to educate youth about interacting with police.

Edwards says they also want to teach people in driver’s ed how to respond if they get pulled over. State Police Col. Mike Edmonson says resolving problems in the communities is about having an open dialogue. He says we need ongoing conversations about ways to improve relations, and that starts with listening. Edmonson says they are also looking at ways to improve police training.

 

State fire officials say no working smoke detectors were found in the home of a Mansfield man who was killed in an early morning blaze Monday. 49 year old Timothy Lee was found by firefighters after the fire, which caused extensive damage to the home, was extinguished.

 

The investigation also continues into a fire that destroyed much of a Bunkie church on Sunday. The Blaze started  around 10pm. The sanctuary, fellowship hall and kitchen, offices and scout room at David Haas Memorial Methodist were a total loss. The fire is being investigated by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

 

State Fire Marshal Butch Browning announces the statewide burn ban has been lifted. Browning thanks residents for their attention to the ban. He says many fires were prevented and thus lives and property saved. The public is still encouraged to use caution when outdoor burning. Browning adds burning will still be subject to state and local laws and regulations. Burn bans in Grant and Avoyelles Parishes continues.

 

It looks like most people will be doing their Christmas shopping online this year. Executive Director of the Louisiana Retailers Association, Dawn Johnson, says a lot of shoppers go into the store, get information from employees, then order online. The survey found 50-percent of respondents admitted to showrooming

 

It’s Bayou Classic week and a large crowd is expected for the annual football game between Grambling and Southern, which is played at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Over 40-thousand tickets have been sold, which is 13-thousand more than last year at this time.

 

The Humane Society of Louisiana is concerned about the high number of complaints they’re receiving about owners neglecting horses. Director Jeff Dorson says there have been several owners who have been cited for cruelty. Dorson says if you can’t afford to take care of a horse, please don’t get into the business and if you’re in over your head, reach out to the humane society. He says the problem is there is a surplus of horses in rural areas. Dorson says it takes about 15-hundred dollars minimum annually to feed and care for a horse. He urges the public to help with the effort to stop horses from being neglected.

 

There is a heightened awareness among law enforcement for potential protests once the U.S. Justice Department announces its results of its investigation into the shooting of Alton Sterling. The 37-year-old black man was fatally shot in July after a scuffle with two white Baton Rouge police officers. Police Chief Carl Dabadie says they are working on a plan to deal with protests with as little aggression as possible. After Sterling was shot on July 5th, numerous protests erupted and over 200 people were arrested.

 

A number of Louisiana Republicans have had their names tossed around as potentially working in President-elect Donald Trump’s administration. Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com says Trump’s campaign team in Louisiana is putting names together and sending them to the transition team. Alford says Congressman Charles Boustany’s name has been mentioned to be chief U.S. trade negotiator under the Trump administration. He says there are a lot of positions that need to be filled, but it’s up in the air who will actually be selected to be part of the cabinet..

 

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser announces the Beauregard Parish Gothic Jail in DeRidder is now open for tours. The Gothic Jail will be the crown jewel of Louisiana’s Myths and Legends Scenic Byway, which is intended to give visitors a reason to visit some of Louisiana’s back roads. Nungesser says over 40-thousand dollars was raised at the Gothic Jail After Dark Fundraiser on Halloween to complete the renovations. More information about Louisiana’s Myth and Legends Scenic Byway can be found at LouisianaByways.com.

 

There was widespread shore loss as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to a USGS-NASA study. Research oceanographer Elijah Ramsey says this is an important study and should not be a onetime thing. He says the spill also caused wetland fragmentation. The study found that the treatment some areas received after the spill was not helpful.

 

Sports..

 

Ed Orgeron could be coaching his final game for the LSU Tigers this Thursday night against Texas A&M. There’s no doubt the Louisiana native would love to be the head coach for the Tigers for many years to come. But he says his priority is to make sure the team is ready to play the Aggies. LSU is coming off a tough 16-10 loss to Florida and there’s speculation the Tigers will make a push for Florida State Head Coach Jim Fisher, once the Seminoles regular season ends on Saturday night.

 

After a bye week, Louisiana Tech is ramping up their preparations for the regular season finale on Friday against Southern Miss. Last year, Southern Miss thumped the Bulldogs on their home field, 58-24.  Bulldogs wide receiver Trent Taylor says they would like to return the favor and win big in Hattiesburg.

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News For Monday 11/21/16


News for Monday 112116

By Dave Graichen

 

Dale Genius passed away Saturday. Dale was an interesting man of many talents. He was known to many as a newsman. In the early days on KSYL 970. Dale also worked in TV news at both KALB and KLAX. Genius became the director of the Louisiana History Museum in 2004, and he poured himself into preserving Alexandria's history. Visitation will be held at this evening at John Kramer & Son Funeral Home on Masonic Drive in Alexandria, from 4 to 8 p.m. and tomorrow from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the funeral home. Dale Genius was 77.

 

A Rapides Parish judge has denied bail for the former Monroe TV personality, Mr. Wonder due to the severity of his crimes. Frank Selas III fled the state after allegedly sexually assaulting multiple children nearly 40 years ago. The 77-year-old was caught in California in January and extradited back to Louisiana. Selas has been charged with multiple counts of aggravated rape and sexual battery among other charges and he’s pleaded not guilty to all.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards has delayed an 18-million dollar cut to higher education as part of his plan to eliminate a 313 million dollar budget shortfall. The decision was made by the governor after lawmakers expressed concerns at a budget meeting regarding additional funding cuts to public colleges. Monroe Representative Katrina Jackson asks for another month to determine if there are other ways to cut the budget. The Revenue Estimating Conference meets again December, and there’s a chance the state’s budget shortfall could increase by then. New Orleans Senator JP Morrel says by putting this cut off until next month, the ball is now in the legislature’s court.

 

The Restore Louisiana Task Force passed a resolution unanimously recommending low income and the disabled be the first to receive the first round of the state’s 438 million dollars of disaster assistance. The task force suggests sending their flood assistance plan to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and HUD could issue spending requirements by as early as next week.

 

The Louisiana Farm Bureau finds the cost of a Thanksgiving meal will be below the national average this year. The average price for a Thanksgiving dinner in Louisiana  $49.79, which is slightly less than the national average.

 

A survey from a national polling firm on the 2016 runoffs in Louisiana predicts winners. Pollster Robert Cahaly with the Trafalgar Group says Republican John Kennedy leads Foster Campbell in the Trafalgar poll 58 to 35-percent. Cahaly says the 3rd Congressional District race he’s got Higgins leading Angelle 49 to 42-percent.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards was elected into office one year ago today. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says the governor has had quite the year. He says he’s had some successes, including the approval of higher sales tax that prevented the state from bigger budget cuts.

Pinsonat says Edwards will likely be dealing with budget issues for the remainder of his years in office. He says despite budget problems, civil unrest from a police shooting and devastating flooding, the governor’s approval rating is high

 

The Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights is officially underway across  Louisiana. Executive Director of the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau, Lynn Doresy, says multiple festivals are held in Alexandria-Pineville, Monroe-West Monroe, Shreveport-Bossier, Minden and Natchitoches. For more information about festivals throughout north Louisiana, go to HolidayTrailOfLights.com.

 

LSU scientists have found the first evidence of Deepwater Horizon oil in a land animal—the Seaside Sparrow. LSU School of Renewable Natural Resources Professor Phillip Stouffer says they believe the oil got into the birds’ system, because they are feeding off the marsh and the oil is trapped in the marsh. Researchers also found that the direct exposure to the oil could be damaging the birds’ reproductive systems.

 

LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva sent out a letter describing what qualities he’s looking for in a new head football coach. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Alleva might’ve issued this letter because he’s tired of hearing a lot of misinformation and speculation that’s circling. He says in one week the full blown search for a new coach will be on as LSU’s regular season will be officially over.  After a disappointing 16-10 loss to Florida on Saturday, interim head coach Ed Orgeron’s chances of keeping the job on a permanent basis seem to be dwindling.

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News For Friday 11/18/16


News for Friday 111816

By Dave Graichen

 

Get ready for a big change in the weather. State climatologist Barry Keim says a significant cold front is sweeping over the state today, which will usher in much colder air. He says tomorrow is expected to be cool and breezy, with temperatures dropping even more by the end of the weekend. Keim says the kickoff temperature for LSU is expected to be 59 degrees. He says Saturday will be one of coldest days we’ve experienced in quite a while.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards has released a statement on the state’s $313 million budget shortfall yesterday. The governor says Louisiana is still recovering from years of mismanagement, and unfortunately our options are limited. He says they are working with government agencies to prepare for more cuts. He says if lawmakers can work together in the next session, Louisiana will be in a strong financial position in the future.

 

Public colleges in Louisiana will have to absorb an 18-million dollar cut in state funding for this fiscal year. It’s part of Governor John Bel Edwards plan to reduce a 315-million dollar deficit. The governor is also proposing to delay 152 million dollars in payments to health care providers who care for Medicaid patients.

 

There are statewide gains in student achievement, according to the Louisiana Department of Education’s annual school report cards. But Superintendent John White says at the same time there are challenges the school grading system doesn’t reveal. He says the system doesn’t fully reflect the gains made by many schools that are making progress. The report finds the number of schools receiving A grades has increased to 16, up from 10 last year. More Rapides Schools earned A and B letter grades, helping move up the district's overall performance score by several points.

 

The Restore Louisiana Taskforce meets today to discuss how they will distribute the first round of federal disaster aid for flood victims. Congress approved 438 million dollars worth of assistance for Louisiana. The governor’s deputy chief of staff, Julie Baxter Payer, says unfortunately this first sum of cash from Congress is not enough to help all homeowners and businesses who experienced flood damage. She says the state wants to first provide relief for those, who are most at risk of losing their home due to lack of immediate resources. Payer says they still anticipate that Congress will approve another round of federal aid before the end of the year to help all flood victims.

 

Republicans in Congress are looking forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Jefferson Parish says one of their top priorities will be to replace the Affordable Care Act. He says GOP leaders in Congress have a bill that takes out provisions from Obamacare that are raising costs and hurting healthcare. Scalise says they also want to work on a strong border security bill, as well as go after radical Islamic terrorists. He says the GOP also wants to work to halt the flood of illegal immigrants into the U.S. because right now there’s no enforcement of the border.

 

The Baton Rouge Police Department arrested a mother for allegedly trying to kill her 8-year-old son by slitting his throat. Cpl. L’Jean McKneely says 40-year-old Gloria Ross’ two other children and the victim were able to escape and call 911. He says when Ross was questioned she told investigators she had a reason. She told officers Jesus told her to kill the boy.

The victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

 

The West Monroe Robertsons say they are hanging up their reality show Duck Dynasty following this final season and 130 episodes. The family says it was a joint decision by them and A&E. 

 

Surveys by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries find there are over twice as many ducks in Louisiana as there were at this time last year. State waterfowl study leader Larry Reynolds says they really aren’t sure why there are so many more ducks this year.

Reynolds says based on their flyovers, they estimated there’s three-million ducks in the state, which is almost two million more than their November 2016 projection.

 

Entergy Louisiana says it intends to break ground in August on a new $869 million dollar power station in St. Charles Parish, in an effort to increase power supply for the growing market. The electricity provider has been given the green light by the Public Service Commission to build the natural gas-fired power plant about 30 miles from New Orleans.

 

There was no Powerball jackpot winner on Wednesday, so the jackpot for Saturday’s drawing  has now soared to $320 million dollars with a cash option of $202 million.

 

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News For Thursday 111716


News for Thursday 111716

By Dave Graichen

 

TOPS recipients will be responsible for more than half of their spring tuition, and state leaders are arguing about who’s to blame. House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry said the governor was more concerned about funding other priorities, like private-public hospitals. But Governor John Bel Edwards said on his monthly call-in radio show that funding TOPS was and still is a top priority for him. Edwards says when he presents the proposed budget for next fiscal year to legislators in early 2017, the popular scholarship program will be fully funded.

 

UNO and Northwestern State say they will cover the TOPS shortfall for students at their universities that have been told they’ll have to pay for 60-percent of their tuition next semester. Northwestern president Jim Henderson says many universities are doing what they can to help TOPS students. Henderson says about 21-hundred students at NSU are on TOPS.

 

The Town Talk Reports the company that owns the property for a proposed aluminum mill in Pineville has agreed to pay its creditors within the next few weeks to resolve a petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Attorneys representing Revolution Aluminum LLC and its subsidiary, Revolution Aluminum Propco LLC, and creditors owed several million dollars agreed in Bankruptcy Court Wednesday to dismiss a petition to force Propco into involuntary bankruptcy, provided creditors are paid before a Dec. 14 hearing. The creditors listed in the petition are owed about $6.6 million. The full story is in today’s Town Talk.

 

Wounded East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Tullier was transported to a rehab hospital in Texas. Tullier was one of several officers shot during the deadly police ambush in July. He spent nearly four months at Our Lady of the Lake. Based on reports from the family, Tullier can move his toes and hands and open one of his eyes.

 

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry along with other organizations will hold a summit in Baton Rouge today on criminal justice reform. LABI President Stephen Waguespack says the goal of the forum is to find ways to reduce Louisiana’s incarceration rate, which is the highest in the world per capita. Waguespack says criminal justice reform can save the state millions of dollars, as well as improve public safety and the lives of those incarcerated after their release. He says they’ll hear from experts on the issue, and they’ll also get ideas from other states that have effectively made similar reforms.

 

A Minnesota police officer has been charged with second degree manslaughter after shooting Philando Castile. That shooting happened the same week Alton Sterling was killed during a confrontation with two white police officers. Legal analyst Tim Meche says don’t expect the federal investigation into the Sterling case to be resolved anytime soon. He says there is a five year statute of limitations, so they are in no rush to come to a conclusion.

 

A 23-year-old Baton Rouge mother has been arrested after her one-year-old daughter was accidentally shot in the face by her two-year-old son. Authorities say Crystal Kinchen was charged with second degree cruelty to a juvenile for leaving the children alone in the car. The infant is still hospitalized.

 

A New Orleans teacher pleads guilty to giving two students pot brownies. Police say they found out when a student became ill and a family member told the school Camille Brennan had given the student a brownie laced with marijuana. Brennan also confessed to asking the students to lie about it and destroying their written statements.

 

There’s been a lot of reaction on social media to the name change of New Orleans Triple-A baseball team. The New Orleans Zephyrs are now the New Orleans Baby Cakes and the team’s general manager Cookie Rojas is happy the new nickname has drawn a ton of interest.

Rojas adds the King Cake with the baby inside helped them develop the new name.

 

After a difficult loss to Denver on Sunday, the Saints return to game action tonight with a Thursday night match-up with NFC South rival Carolina. New Orleans Quarterback Drew Brees says it’s a challenge to prepare for a game on a short week, but they are looking to get the bad taste out of their month from last Sunday’s heart breaking loss. The Saints beat Carolina 41-38 earlier this season.

 

 

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News For Wednesday 111616


news for Wednesday 111516

By Dave Graichen

 

LOUISIANA WILL EXPERIENCE SOME ROLLERCOASTER TEMPERATURES THIS WEEK. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS WE’LL SEE HIGH TEMPERATURES IN THE 80S ACROSS THE STATE OVER THE NEXT TWO DAYS BUT A SIGNIFICANT COLD FRONT WILL COME IN ON FRIDAY. KEIM SAYS SATURDAY WILL BE RELATIVELY COOL AND BREEZY, WITH TEMPERATURES IN THE 50S IN THE MORNING AND REACHING THE MID 60S IN THE AFTERNOON.

 

the alexandria city council yesterday introduced an ordinance that authorizes city officials to research further how much it would cost to assume ownership of the old weise and goldring building downtown. the building at the corner of desoto and 3rd street has been vacant since the early 1990’s. the current owner of the building has been ordered to EITHER DEMOLISH THE BUILDING OR FIX THE ISSUES MAKING IT UNSAFE. he has offered to give the building to the city, but many believe it could be an expensive ACQUISITION for the city. 

 

College students who have TOPS are looking at paying for 60-percent of their tuition for the spring semester. Governor John Bel Edwards expressed his disappointment that young adults are facing this kind of cost to get an education. Edwards says it’s his hope the state can allocate more dollars to the popular scholarship program next year.

 

Caroline Fayard has endorsed Foster Campbell in the US Senate runoff, but whether or not that will help him win the race remains to be seen. UL-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says even though Louisiana voters elected a Democrat as governor last year, it doesn’t seem likely. Campbell will be on the ballot with Republican John Kennedy on December 10.

 

FEMA announces they will continue to pay for hotel rooms for displaced flood victims through December 18th. More than 2-thousand families are using this federal assistance to live at a hotel.

 

SOME LAWMAKERS ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THE OFFICE OF MOTOR VEHICLES DECISION TO STOP ACCEPTING CASH AS A FORM OF PAYMENT. OMV COMMISSIONER KAREN ST. GERMAIN SAYS A MAJOR REASON WHY THE OMV WILL NOT LONGER ACCEPT CASH IS THAT IT will SAVE THE STATE 500-THOUSAND DOLLARS. St. Germain says it COSTS MONEY TO HANDLE and transport the cash. JONESBORO SENATOR JIM FANNIN SAYS MANY SENIOR CITIZENS DO NOT HAVE CREDIT CARDS. he says he has received several complaints.

 

CSRA HAS OPENED A NEW INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGY CENTER IN BOSSIER CITY, WHICH IS GOOD NEWS FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN NORTHWEST LOUISIANA. LED SECRETARY DON PIERSON SAYS CSRA is A MAJOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY COMPANY. PIERSON SAYS the company NOW EMPLOYS 400 PEOPLE IN SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER BUT WILL EXPAND TO 800 BY JUNE 2018. HE SAYS LOUISIANA IS FUNDING A 10-YEAR $14 MILLION HIGHER EDUCATION INITIATIVE WITH COLLEGES IN NORTHWEST LOUISIANA TO HELP THE COMPANY EXPAND ITS WORKFORCE.

 

It’s been one year since GLO Airlines inaugural flight out of their New Orleans based terminal. Currently, GLO offers daily flights from New Orleans to five destinations in the Gulf South. Founder and CEO Trey Fayard says they’re looking to depart from other Gulf and mid-South cities in the future. GLO recently added flights to Huntsville, Alabama, and Destin.

 

A 17-year-old boy is continuing to recover after receiving a serious neck injury during a football game on Friday night. Michael Doherty, a junior at St. Paul’s High School in Covington, collided with three players resulting in a major injury to his C5 vertebra. The school’s athletic director, Craig Ketelsen, says Doherty’s condition is still in a holding pattern after undergoing a seven hour surgery on Saturday. He says the love and support Doherty is receiving is amazing.

 

It’s been more than a year since a production has been filmed at Celtic Studios in Baton Rouge, and Executive Director Patrick Mulhearn says they’re doing what they can to keep their doors open. He says he’s finding other ways to use the facility. Mulhearn is hopeful the film industry will improve when the cap on film tax credits expires in 18 months.

 

 

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News For Tuesday 11/15/16


News for Tuesday 111516

By Dave Graichen

 

This week thousands of  college students from across the state will have a difficult decision to make, as they’re reminded they will owe almost 60-perent of their semester’s tuition in January. For the first time in its history, TOPS will not cover a recipient’s entire tuition because the legislature was not able to fully fund the program. The average LSU student will owe more than $2-thousand for the spring tuition, not including fees.

 

How Louisiana plans to close a 315-million dollar budget deficit will be discussed with state lawmakers on Friday. The budget gap was created when the state closed the books on last fiscal year and ended up spending more than what they took in. State agencies and colleges have been asked to prepare for budget cuts of up to 10-percent.

 

The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children released a report on how the school readiness tax credits are benefiting the state. Melanie Brofin with L-P-I-C says the incentive helps working families afford and access early care and education for children up to 4 years old. She says

funding has been cut by close to 70-percent. Brofin says more than 20-thousand families who qualify are not getting assistance.

 

The quarrel between Governor John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry continues, as the governor is asking a Baton Rouge court to define Landry’s role in state government. Publisher of LaPolitics.com, Jeremy Alford, says Landry has interpreted his role to be much further reaching than his predecessors, and the two officials disagree about how much power the AG should have. Edwards is asking the court to rule that the governor prevails when state leaders disagree about legal matters.

 

The Louisiana Lottery Corp, says no one won the  Powerball drawings on Saturday night.

The prize goes to about $293 million for Wednesday.

 

Northwestern State University has received the 2017 Military Friendly School designation by Victory Media. N-S-U Vice President of Technology Darlene Williams says they have a long history of working with and serving the military with their relationships with Fort Polk and Barksdale Airforce Base. She says they also have a nationally ranked online degree program.

More than 16-hundred schools were considered for the honor. Williams hopes receiving designations like this will bring in more military students to the school.

 

The National “Move Over” Campaign is this week. State Police Master Trooper Scott Moreau says if there’s a vehicle on the shoulder, move over or slow to a reasonable speed. He says enforcement efforts are increased this week. Moreau says ten officers were killed in crashes on the side of Louisiana roadways last year.

 

State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Charlie Melancon orders a complete internal review of his agency after an audit found Gulf oil spill money went to unnecessary iPads, cameras, boats and fishing equipment. He says the mismanagement happened before he got there. The audit scrutinizes the department when it was run by Robert Barham.

 

Two key endorsements were announced Monday in the state’s runoff elections. Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry has publicly announced his support for State Treasurer John Kennedy for US Senate. Congressman John Fleming has endorsed Republican Mike Johnson in the race for the seat he is leaving after 8 years.

 

The man accused of killing a Raising Cane’s store manager pleaded not guilty Monday in Jefferson Parish. 24-year-old Joshua Every is charged with first degree murder and armed robbery in connection with the brutal killing of Taylor Friloux at the establishment where she was working in Kenner. Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty for Every.

 

UL-Lafayette head football coach Mark Hudspeth publicly apologized for the behavior of four of his players who were recorded in the locker room singing an anti-Donald Trump rap song filled with vulgarities. Hudspeth says these young men have shown remorse for their actions. Hudspeth says the four players in the video have been punished, but did not say how.

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News For Monday 11/14/16


News for Monday 111416

By Dave Graichen

 

Congress reconvenes today, which means Louisiana’s congressional delegation will resume its efforts to get more federal funds appropriated for flood recovery. Baton Rouge Congressman Garrett Graves says right now the state still needs to come up with a plan for spending the $438 million they’ve already received. The Governor’s Office says the Restore Louisiana Task Force has delayed a vote on how to allocate the funds because the money is tied up in red tape. Graves says at this point, they aren’t sure how many payments Louisiana will receive because president-elect Donald Trump’s victory changes the dynamic.

 

Today is the final day for flood victims to register for Disaster Assistance. Ray Perez with FEMA says approximately 152-thousand individuals have registered for federal aid.  To apply for federal disaster aid visit disaster-assistance-dot-gov (disasterassistance.org). Perez says just because registration stops today, does not mean that the work stops. He says FEMA will be in Louisiana for the long term because they’re just getting started.

 

Gas prices have once again dipped below two dollars. Senior Petroleum Analyst with GasBuddy.com, Gregg Laskoski says the nation is seeing prices five cents lower than a week ago, with Louisiana being four cents lower. He says there is a very good chance we will see these gas prices continuing to decline.

 

The two candidates in the US Senate runoff have each agreed to participate in two TV debates, but disagree about which two. Democrat Foster Campbell and Republican John Kennedy have each agreed to attend a December 2nd forum planned by WVLA-TV in Baton Rouge. But Kennedy also said he plans to debate on WDSU on November 29th, and Campbell on LBP December first. It’s unclear how the campaigns will resolve the conflict.

 

Republican Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle is up against fellow GOP contender Capt. Clay Higgins in the runoff for the 3rd Congressional District seat. Higgins is confident he will win soundly, and he says he feels good going into the runoff. He says if elected, he will not be a part of the corruption in Washington. Angelle believes he is in a strong position going into the runoff, as he beat Higgins in the polls by three percent. But he says he’s not taking anything for granted.

 

The ex wife of Congressional candidate Clay Higgins, aka the Cajun John Wayne, has filed a lawsuit against the former St. Landry Parish deputy for back child support. It’s reported Higgins owes almost $100,000. The lawsuit was filed the day after the election and Higgins’ campaign says the timing is ridiculous.

 

Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie said all officers will have body cameras by spring.He says they hope to wrap up a body camera pilot program by then and begin rolling out the devices. A decision on how or whether to cover the cost of outfitting the entire department with body cameras will be up to the next mayor and Metro Council.

 

A Shreveport-based jet maintenance company announces plans to close next year, putting hundreds of jobs at risk. ExpressJet Corporate Communications Director Bobbie Batista issues a statement saying the base is scheduled to close by June 17. ExpressJet currently employs 286 local workers, some of whom have been there for more than a decade.

 

Sports…

 

The Golden Boot Trophy is back in Baton Rouge as a result of LSU’s dominating 38-10 win over Arkansas in Razorback Stadium. It’s the Tigers first win over the Hogs since 2013. Interim Head Coach Ed Orgeron says the players were determined to get a win in Fayetteville

 

Nine out of 10 LSU fans approve of interim head football coach Ed Orgeron’s job performance, according to a statewide public opinion poll. 72% of fans said LSU should keep Coach “O” permanently.

 

The Saints lost in a shocking manner on Sunday afternoon in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as Denver blocks an extra point with 1:22 left in the game and returned it for two points for a 25-23 victory. Will Parks returned the blocked kick for a score.  The loss drops New Orleans record to 4-5. Payton says the team will have to bounce back, with Carolina coming up on Thursday.

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News For Thursday 111016


News for Thursday 111016

By Dave Graichen

 

US Senator Bill Cassidy is excited about the upcoming Trump Administration, saying now the chains of Congress will be removed and they can start working toward real change. He says a major priority will be repairing the nation’s healthcare system. Cassidy believes Trump will be good for Louisiana’s struggling oil and gas industry as he anticipates the President-elect will look to develop domestic energy resources.

 

Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards has issued a statement congratulating Trump on the historic victory. Edwards says Louisiana will be a strong partner with President-elect Trump and his new administration.

 

Former Governor Bobby Jindal has kept a low-profile since leaving the governor’s mansion last January. But the Wall Street Journal reports Trump may consider Jindal to be his Health and Human Services Secretary.

 

Business leaders in Louisiana are confident a Trump Administration will be good for the state’s economy. Louisiana Association of Business and Industry President Stephen Waguespack says government regulations, like the new overtime pay order and Obamacare, are hurting small businesses. LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott has concerns about the president-elect’s campaign promises about renegotiating trade agreements. He says after NAFTA was established in 1994, the Bayou State did see a significant loss, but it was followed by a tremendous economic boost.

 

Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential race came as a surprise to many, as Hillary Clinton had a strong lead in the polls heading into Election Day. Political analyst Ron Faucheux of New Orleans says many of the statewide polls were off by at least three points, likely because people were inundated with survey calls. He says this should show polling companies that they should rethink the methodology.

 

The constitutional amendment that would have allowed colleges to set their own tuition did not pass Tuesdsay. Higher Education Commissioner Joseph Rallo says this was not about raising tuition and believes the final wording approved by the legislature likely concerned voters. He says funding issues will continue to plague higher ed.

 

There were 24 candidates running for US Senate and now there’s just two. Republican John Kennedy and Democrat Foster Campbell have advanced to the runoff. Analysts predict Kennedy is the favorite to win, but Campbell hopes his position as a non-political insider will resonate with voters. Kennedy says he’s running to protect the taxpayer and get his country back. Kennedy was the top vote getter in last night’s election with 25-percent of the vote, while Campbell had 17-percent, edging out Republican Charles Boustany.

 

Mike Francis of Crowley has been elected as the Public Service Commissioner for District 4. Clyde Holloway represented the district until his death in October. Francis says he will bring proven business principles to the Public Service Commission. Francis previously served as the state’s Republican Party chairman for six years.

 

Days are becoming shorter as winter is coming, and Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon warns drivers to steer clear of deer this fall. He says there are 1.5 million deer-related accidents in the US every year. He says the risk of hitting a deer is even greater after daylight savings ends.

 

LSU will soon have a new facility for students who are currently in the military or served in the armed forces. Coordinator for LSU Veteran and Military Services, Adam Jennings, says the 46-hundred square-foot Military and Veterans Student Center will have study space for groups and individual study, as well as tutors. LSU has contracted with architects to design the building, and construction is set to begin once contractors have been hired.  LSU is currently home to nearly 500 veteran students and more than 16-hundred undergraduate dependents.

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