News for Thursday 083013
By Dave Graichen
Labor Day Weekend gets underway today, and travel experts forecast an increase in the number of folks traveling for the holiday. Louisiana AAA's Don Redman says about 34-million Americans will travel 50 or more miles this weekend. He says that's a 4% increase over last year. Redman says the increase in holiday travel this year is largely due to increased consumer spending and a generally better economy.
Things are changing at the Alexander Fulton Hotel, or are they? New Orleans-based Windfeel Properties is taking over the city-owned property from Noble Hospitality, Inc., which had managed the hotel for more than two years. Noble Hospitality’s agreement with the city runs out Saturday at midnight. The terms of the agreement will be the same as the previous agreement with Noble. Under that agreement, the city does not pay a management fee but is responsible for capital improvements. The management company assumes operational costs of the facility.
Louisiana's Board of Regents launches an initiative to entice university graduates, who've left the state, to bring their skills and knowledge back home. Higher Education Commissioner Jim Purcell says Operation Recall will target over 40-thousand degreed grads via direct mailings and other methods - hoping to convince them to come back and help fill a growing need for their particular job skills.
Lafayette Police are investigating what could be a murder-suicide. Lafayette PD Corporal Nicole Benoit says officers responded to a burglary call, to find the body of a white female - apparently shot to death. They developed a person of interest in the case and tracked him to a second address. Where they found him dead as well. Police have confirmed the two victims were related. Their identities have not been released.
A state law that allows state government to grab casino winnings from parents behind on their child support has surpassed the $1 million mark. The Department of Children and Family Services says that it's collected $1.2-million from 969 noncustodial parents at casinos across Louisiana. The biggest single interception was over $23-thousand from the Amelia Belle near Morgan City last year. The collections make a small dent in the more than $1.3-billion owed by deadbeat parents.
A Lake Charles couple are behind bars for the alleged rape of a 9-year-old boy. Police say Ryan Garcia and Olivia O'Brien face charges of aggravated rape and indecent behavior with a juvenile,
for reportedly forcing the victim to engage in sex acts, then threatening him if he told anyone. Garcia is also a registered sex offender. Both are in jail pending large bail amounts.
LSU System President and Chancellor F. King Alexander wants to merge the LSU Agricultural Center’s administrative functions with the university’s College of Agriculture. The two entities operated jointly until a split in 1972. Alexander is expected to make the case for consolidation Sept. 6 at the LSU Board of Supervisors meeting where he will lay a nine-month phase-in for the idea, if approved by the board.
The clock is ticking down for dozens of community organizations caught in a disagreement with state Treasurer John Kennedy. Kennedy’s office released Thursday a list of organizations that he said failed to detail how they spent state dollars. He said he will submit noncompliant organizations’ names next week to the Office of Debt Recovery, which could demand repayment of state dollars.
The list of 29 groups includes organizations with ties to former or current state legislators.
According to a new report, the number of fatal accidents in Louisiana involving drunk drivers is going down. Louisiana Highway Safety Commission deputy director Kenneth Trull says the number of alcohol-related fatalities has dropped from 446 in 2007 to 297 in 2012. He says they attribute this good news to many factors mainly increased law enforcement presence.
In a highly unusual move, a judge ordered criminal background checks Thursday on the members of the grand jury that indicted accused murderer Seth Fontenot in the Feb. 10 death of one teen and wounding of two others after the defense questioned whether any of jurors had a felony record. Investigators will use the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database to identify felons who might have served on the Lafayette Parish grand jury that indicted Fontenot Feb. 21. State law bars people with a felony conviction from serving on a grand jury, and Fontenot’s indictment could be called into question if a felon served on the grand jury that heard his case earlier this year.
News for Thursday 082913
By Dave Graichen
State police have arrested a Zwolle Police Officer and charged him with inappropriate behavior with a minor. Arrested was 33 year old Calvin Aaron Jr. An investigation revealed that Aaron and a 16 year old female were using cell phones to transmit sexually explicit and/or lewd images of each other to one another. The investigation also revealed that Aaron had attempted to destroy evidence of their activities after knowing that an investigation into the matter had begun.
Authorities in Jackson Parish confirm one person dead and two injured in an accident at the Rock-Tenn paper mill in Hodge. We're told the accident happened inside a storage tank as the men were cleaning it. A company official says one was able to get out with only minor burns, and was released from the hospital. He says attempts to get the other man out weren't successful and he died as a result. A third man, was airlifted to a burn center in Shreveport. His condition is unknown at this time.
The LaSalle Parish Sheriff's office says a juvenile is recovering after being shot by a relative who then shot and killed himself. They say Tuesday, 63-year-old Elton Ray Phelps, was intoxicated at the time of the alleged shooting and turned the gun on himself once he realized he'd shot the juvenile. The victim is expected to recover from his injuries and the case remains under investigation.
Today marks the eight year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The monster storm killed over 15-hundred people in Louisiana and left 80-percent of New Orleans under water for several days. US Army Corps of Engineers spokesperson Ricky Boyett says since Katrina 14-and-half-billion dollars have been spent to reduce the storm surge risk. Boyett says the 133-mile flood protection system that's been strengthened in the greater New Orleans area can now withstand a 100- year storm surge. Today also marks the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Isaac which caused major flooding in Plaquemines and St. John the Baptist Parishes.
The state's oldest chartered harvest festival begins tonight in Morgan City. The 78th annual Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival will run through Monday. The festival started in 1936
State Police and local lawmen will team up for beefed up patrols along Interstates 10 and 12 through the Labor Day Weekend, in an effort to decrease accidents, injuries and fatalities. LSP Colonel Mike Edmonson says "Operation: Safe Corridor" is a cooperative effort of eight states along I-10...:
The Livingston Parish Sheriff's office says the Water Park near Denham Springs where a teenager drowned has been cleared of wrong-doing. They say an investigation did not reveal the park was breaking any law when the tragic drowning occurred. The father of 14-year-old Nick Kissner of Port Allen reportedly says the park is too dangerous and wants to see it shut down.
State Treasurer John Kennedy is warning residents about an email scam that is charging a fee in order to make an unclaimed property claim. He says this happens every now and then but he wants citizens to be aware that these scammers are getting information that you could get for yourself for free through the department's website or toll free hotline.
Be prepared for an increase in gas prices as a result of rising crude oil prices. American Automobile Association Fuel Analyst Don Redman says the possibility of US military action against Syria has led to a sharp increase in the price of oil. He says the current statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.41 but motorists should budget for a price of at least $3.50.
New data from the non-partisan Tax Foundation lists Louisiana among the top five highest combined state sales taxes in the nation. Our state ranks 3rd, with consumers paying an average 8.89-percent in state and local sales tax. The Tax Foundation report shows only Tennessee (9.44%) and Arkansas (9.18%) collect more sales tax. Washington and Oklahoma come in behind Louisiana, to round out the Top 5.
The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's office says a hospice nurse is under arrest after he stole medicine from one of his patients that had just died. They say the family saw 65-year-old William Simm Jr. of
Thibodaux take morphine, oxycodone and hydrocodone in his pocket with him when he left the house. He is charged with theft of a schedule II control dangerous substance.
Opelousas Police have ruled the shooting death of teenage earlier this month to be an accident. 15-year-old Jaylin Levier died, after days on life support, after he was found in his home on August 16th,
with a gunshot to the head. Police say Levier and some friends were playing with a gun when it went off. One of the teens is charged with illegal possession of a gun by a juvenile.
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti tells "Variety" magazine he's calling a state of emergency due to movie & TV productions leaving his city to shoot in Louisiana and other states who offer tax
incentives. Garcetti says he'll lobby California lawmakers to improve that state's tax incentives to boost film & TV productions there.
Authorities on Wednesday located an LSU senior from Ascension Parish whose family had not heard from him since early Tuesday. St. Gabriel Police Chief Kevin Ambeau said a Baton Rouge police helicopter scanning the area for Christopher Broussard located his 2004 Nissan Frontier just after 7 p.m. lying in a bayou in Iberville Parish. With the help of Broussard’s family, authorities were able to identify the lone body found inside the truck as Broussard. Christopher Broussard was 22.
New Orleans Police seek a trio of men for the brutal beating of a couple in the French Quarter last weekend. The man required surgery to repair his three-times broken jaw. The men sought are all young black men. The victims were white. New Orleans Crimestoppers is offering a reward.
Police in Mandeville, in St. Tammany Parish, are seeking a man who tried to abduct a girl as she got off her school bus yesterday. The man offered the girl a ride home; she instead ran to her house, but her ran after her. The child told her father, who ran outside, but the suspect had already fled. He's described as Hispanic, heavy-set with short dark hair and a moustache.
News for Wednesday 082813
By Dave Graichen
Tuesday Governor Bobby Jindal announced that Dow Chemical Company will invest $1.06 billion to build two new plants and upgrade it's complex in Plaquemine. Jindal says the projects will retain 1,380 existing jobs and create 71 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of more than $49,000 a year.
The Louisiana Department of Revenue announces the arrest of six tax preparers who allegedly filed false returns on behalf of their clients in the hopes of profiting from the fraudulent activity. LDR spokesperson Doug Baker says they are cracking down on this type of illegal activity thanks to a new computer system, which helps identify tax fraud cases. Five of the six people arrested live in south Louisiana.
Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne says Louisiana set a record for tourism in 2012 with 26.3 million people visiting the Bayou State. However Dardenne cites budget concerns because money that's supposed to go to out-of-state marketing is "passed through" the legislature and is going toward other events in state. For example, Bayou Country Music Fest and various sporting events. Dardenne, in his address to the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association. said $665 million dollars in tax revenue was generated for the citizens of our state from tourists last year.
New statistics show underage tobacco sales have reached a record low nationally. Less than ten-percent of the stores were found to be non-compliant. Here in Louisiana, Alcohol and Tobacco Control commissioner Troy Hebert says between 10-and-20 percent of stores they inspect fail to comply with the law that prohibits the sale of tobacco products to a customer under the age 18. Hebert says retailers and store clerks who sell tobacco to underage individuals face hefty fines.
It’s time to choot ‘em. The alligator hunting season opens in what is known as the east zone of Louisiana today. The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries estimates 34-thousand alligators will be harvested during the season.
Accent Marketing will close its Monroe call center - meaning about 60 people will lose their jobs. At one time Accent employed about 500 in Monroe.
The Port of Lake Charles board has approved an operating agreement with Lake Charles Clean Energy for the handling and storage of methanol, a major step in bringing the $2.6 billion project forward. Port officials said the new submission will allow the product to be exported, about one million tons per year. The port already signed a 25-year operating contract with Lake Charles Clean Energy, a subsidiary of Leucadia. The company has spent more than $50 million in site preparation, mainly for drainage and electricity.
A farming accident has claimed the life of a Shreveport man. Caddo Parish officials report 33-year-old Ross Lynn was pronounced dead on his family's farm after he struck his head.
A hearing has been set regarding the the 8-year-old who apparently fatally shot his 90-year-old care giver in the back of the head this past Thursday. The East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office reports
Marie Smothers was killed with her own hand gun. The boy cannot be tried with a crime because of his age but a hearing will allow a judge other options including ordering mental health care for the
Officers with the Houma Police Department say a man was arrested last night and booked with a DUI for riding his lawnmower drunk down a city street. They say 60-year-old Edward Duke was also driving without lights around midnight when he was spotted by an officer. The suspect was booked with 2nd offense DWI and operating an unsafe vehicle.
Emergency crews rushed to the Rock-Tenn paper mill in Hodge, in Jackson Parish, yesterday, when three contract workers fell into a tank there. What was inside the tank is unknown, but we do know two of those men were taken to Jackson Parish hospital with severe injuries. They've since been airlifted to another facility for care. Police in Hodge say there was no explosion at the plant and the public is in no danger.
A Lake Charles man entered an unusual plea to charges of indecent behavior with a juvenile. The Calcasieu Parish DA's office says David Tarver entered an Alford plea which doesn't require a
defendant to admit the act, but admits that the prosecution could likely prove the charge. He faces up to 25 years at his sentencing on September 20th.
News for Tuesday 082713 5:25a
By Dave Graichen
Tony Procell, the man allegedly killed by a Natchitoches police officer, died as a result of significant injuries to his head. That's according to a preliminary autopsy report done by the Sabine Parish Coroner's office. Deputy coroner Ron Rivers. There's a report that says 34-year-old Robert Barthelemy allegedly used a baseball bat to kill Procell after abducting him from his Many home by gunpoint last Tuesday. Barthelemy has been in police custody since Wednesday morning. He's facing a charge of first-degree murder. Procell's body was found on Sunday in a shallow grave in Winn Parish. Rivers says a forensic anthropologist expert from LSU is assisting in the investigation.
The Secretary of State is teaming with registrars' offices across the state to push for voter registrations this week. Secretary Tom Schedler says the effort is in cooperation with National Voter Registration Week; now through this Friday. Schedler says Louisiana ranks 3rd in the country for the percentage of eligible voters that are registered to do so; 85%. Registrars offices will hold voter registration events at select locations all across the state this week. Remember, you can always register to vote at the Office of Motor Vehicles, also at libraries, public schools and colleges and even by U.S. Mail.. Register online anytime at "GeauxVote.com"
A survey conducted by the U-S Census Bureau finds that one-third of Louisiana residents do not have the ability to access the Internet at all. Public Service Commission member Foster Campbell many of those people live in rural areas. Campbell says companies who offer broadband internet connection services are not doing business in rural areas, because it’s not profitable for them. The Census Bureau says Louisiana ranks as the 11th worst connected state. Mississippi is the least connected, while Washington is the most connected state.
According to rankings released Monday by Washington Monthly Magazine, Louisiana colleges, both public and private, aren’t very good in contributing to the overall public well-being. They also don’t provide that much value, according to another list. Of the four Louisiana universities on the National Rankings list, Tulane University had the highest placement coming in at 100, while LSU had the second poorest showing with a 178. State officials say the lists used flawed data.
Search teams located the body of a 46-year-old Shreveport man Monday morning in Cross Lake in Caddo Parish. Robby Weems had been missing since Saturday night. Adam Einck, with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, says Weems was on a boat with his brothers that broke down when he jumped into the lake as it was being towed. He went under and didn’t resurface. Einck says alcohol may have played a role in the incident.
New Orleans could be one of several cities that will put in a bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. Jason Dore', executive director of the Louisiana Republican Party, says it will take millions of dollars to bring the G-O-P Convention back to the Big Easy for the first time since 1988. Dore says the national republican party has indicated they would like to hold the convention in June or July, which would avoid any conflicts with the Saints.
Even though investigators with the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's office believe an 8-year-old boy intentionally shot a 90-year-old Slaughter woman Thursday evening in her home, under Louisiana law the child cannot be charged. Legal analyst Tim Meche says the boy is too young to be prosecuted in the juvenile criminal justice system. The law states anyone who has not reached the age of 10 years are exempt from criminal responsibility. The parents of the by say the shooting was not intentional.
The former LSU student who fatally shot two hostages in a bank standoff in northeast Louisiana had drawn attention from federal authorities earlier this year after he was photographed holding an assault rifle while visiting Yemen. Fuaed Abdo Ahmed had not been under investigation before the standoff, but LSU Police, who were briefed by the FBI, issued a bulletin to Louisiana law enforcement agencies regarding statements he made. The FBI said Friday that agents interviewed Ahmed in Yemen in April after his family reported him missing, and possibly kidnapped, and again in June upon his return to the United States. The second interview was prompted by a report “about a Facebook photo of Ahmed holding an AK-47 while he was visiting Yemen
The lack of any measureable rain has led to a burn ban in Sabine Parish. Extreme drought conditions plague the area, meaning resident cannot burn anything outdoors. Not trash, leaves, cut brush...nothing. The ban is in effect for at least 30 days, possibly longer if some rain doesn't fall soon.
A Belle Chasse woman was arrested after she allegedly threatened a 6th grade student who had a dispute with her daughter. 34-year-old Sayra Smith reportedly got on the bus and in the child's face. The bus driver intervened, and was verbally attacked by Smith...all of this caught on the bus's video recorder. She's charged with trespassing and disturbing the peace.
News for Friday 082313
By Dave Graichen
A 15-year-old faces first-degree murder charges in the death of a Pineville woman, who was killed in Lafayette last weekend. Lafayette Police Corporal Paul Mouton says the teenager is from Lafayette and he was booked into the parish juvenile detention center. Mouton says
detectives also believe they've found the murder weapon. 51-year-old Connie Burch, a Pineville resident, was found shot dead on a city street Sunday morning. A tip led to the teen suspect, whose name is being withheld. Mouton says his motive for allegedly killing the victim is unknown. And they still don't know why 51-year-old Connie Burch was in Lafayette.
State Superintendent of Education John White says the number of technology-ready school districts has increased sevenfold in one year. Over the last year, school districts have upgraded or purchased an additional 65-thousand computers and tablets. White says because of these efforts, 37 districts meet the minimum technology standard. White says an additional 18 districts are on the cusp of meeting the minimum standard for technology devices, which is one computing device for every seven students.
Outgoing District 5 Congressman Rodney Alexander has endorsed Columbia state Senator Neil Riser to replace him in the U.S. House. Many feel there's been a plot to set Riser up with an advantage over other candidates seeking to succeed Alexander. LSU political science professor
Kirby Goidel says some will likely use that in their campaigns. The endorsement of the outgoing office-holder usually gives candidates an edge. Goidel says the appearance that Alexander's resignation, his appointment to the Governor's cabinet and Riser's "favorite son" status could look to some like a "back room deal" was made, which could backfire on Riser's campaign.
A burn ban has now been order for Bossier Parrish areas and parts of southern Caddo and Desoto parishes. The ban will remain in effect as long as present conditions continue. Those areas have received less than average rain fall and have very dry vegetation.
Dramatic video showing numerous trees being swallowed whole by the Bayou Corne sinkhole, in Assumption Parish, is getting national and international media attention. The footage - shot by Assumption Parish Emergency Preparedness Director John Boudreaux - has been viewed more than 425-thousand times on YouTube. Boudreaux says it's a powerful illustration of what folks with property near the sinkhole have been going through.
Vernon Parish lawmen are still investigating who is responsible for three large outdoor marijuana growing operations that have been discovered and uprooted in recent months. The three pot fields had an estimated street value of over $60-million. There are currently no solid leads to identify the growers.
A Jefferson Parish state lawmaker has resigned his seat in the state House, after federal authorities accuse him of cheating on his income taxes. Harvey Rep. Girod Jackson is alleged to have misrepresented his income on one tax return, and failed to file for two other years. The Legislative Black Caucus issued a statement reacting to Jackson's resignation this afternoon. Jackson
represented Louisiana House District 87.
The Department of Transportation and Development launches an application that will provide drivers with traffic information while on the road. DOTD spokesman Dustin Annison says it's called the "Way to Geaux" (G-E-A-U-X) app. The app can be downloaded for iPhones or Androids by visiting DOTD's website, the iTunes App Store or Google Play. Annison says all you have to do is set your phone down, and traffic alerts will automatically be sent to your phone after an incident is entered into the system by operators at Traffic Management Centers.
Shreveport's Independence Bowl is losing its title sponsor. Advocare says 2013 will be the last year for the Advocare V-100 Independence Bowl. Bowl officials says they aren't giving up after 38 years, and are confident they'll find another sponsor.
The federal corruption trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has been delayed. Set to start on October 7th, Nagin's trial will now begin three weeks later. The "Chocolate City" former mayor is
accused of taking bribes from contractors while he was in office. He denies doing anything wrong.
Southern Living Magazine has once again named LSU as a contender for the "South's Best Tailgate" competition -- which is featured in their issue that hits newsstands today. Travel and features editor Jennifer Cole says they picked 15 schools with the greatest pregame parties for
a chance to earn the best tailgate honor, and LSU was a no brainer. Cole says they are asking fans to decide which school best honors the great tradition of Southern hospitality with the most spirited tailgate.
News for Thursday 082213
By Dave Graichen
Saying something stinks about the way a special election for the 5th Congressional District seat developed, Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway joined the crowded race Wednesday. Fourteen people, including four legislators, a mayor, a former legislator and political newcomers, are now on the ballot for the Oct. 19 open primary special election to replace U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander. Holloway, a Republican from Forest Hill, said his decision to run stems from suspicions that Gov. Bobby Jindal and Alexander, R-Quitman, orchestrated a plan to slide state Sen. Neil Riser into the seat.
The LSU Tigers haven't played a game yet this season, but already talk is centered around NEXT year's schedule which was released yesterday. LSU will close out the 2014 season in College Station taking on Texas A&M in a Thanksgiving night game. The Tigers usually play Arkansas as the last game of the season the day after Thanksgiving, but next year, the Tigers and Razorbacks will take on each other earlier in the season.
A Natchitoches Police officer is in custody for allegedly kidnapping another man Tuesday night and holding him at gunpoint. DeSoto Parish Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle says officer Robert Barthelemy was taken into custody after almost a 2 hour standoff with law enforcement who feared the suspect was going to commit suicide in his car. He ended up being taken into custody without incident. The dispute between the two men was reportedly over a woman. The victim, Tony Procell is still missing.an active search continues for him today.
State Attorney General Buddy Caldwell spent some time in a Madison Parish hospital, after a single vehicle crash. State Police Trooper Albert Paxton says the accident happened at around 7 yesterday morning, not far from Tallulah. Caldwell told troopers he was fatigued and felt nauseated while driving, and apparently blacked out. He suffered only minor injuries. Paxton says impairment is not suspected in Caldwell's crash.
Former chief of staff to Governor Bobby Jindal Steven Waguespack is reportedly in line to become the next president of LABI, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. This is interesting news, as Waguespack is loyal to the Governor's Office, and LABI was instrumental in nixing Mr. Jindal's tax swap proposal this past Spring. The plan would have ended state income taxes and shifted more of the tax burden to business. With Waguespack at the helm, political insiders are saying, Jindal's tax swap could have a very different fate next Spring.
Four people were seriously hurt Wednesday afternoon, in a crash near I-49 in Carencro that slowed traffic to a crawl. Police say a woman driving a vehicle with three kids inside was attempting a lane change, when she hit a truck, lost control and rolled her vehicle several times. One child was ejected from the car. All four are being treated for severe, but non-life-threatening injuries. Traffic
backup due to this crash - plus rubbernecking - led to several other smaller accidents, in which no one was seriously hurt.
New LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander will be among volunteers helping freshman students move into their campus housing today. It's the annual Move-In Day at LSU, and Alexander says he's not alone; about 700 faculty, staff and student athletes will take part.
Residents in central and northern Louisiana will soon have access to the fastest wireless phone & device technology, as AT&T announces it's rolling out 4G LTE service in Alexandria and points north. AT&T spokesperson Sue Sperry says 4G LTE provides upload and download speeds far superior to current mobile technologies. Sperry says the Alexandria area should have the new wireless tech fully in place before the year's end. Now, if we can only get a signal on Jackson Street Ext….
A West Baton Rouge 18-year-old, Daryl Tillman, and an unnamed teenager face battery charges for shooting a girl at Plaquemine High school with a paintball gun. Investigators said their prank happened as the girl was leaving an after school event.
Dressed as a Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Deputy, 26-year-old Gary Robertson of Westlake, apparently stole two flat-screen TV's from Walmart, Tuesday after noon. Authorities say Robertson stole the uniform from a relative. He now faces several charges and the investigation continues into whether he used the uniform in any other situations.
New Orleans Police say a local taxi driver was arrested after allegedly using his cellphone to record video underneath a woman's skirt without her permission, then using the footage to try to get money from her. Metairie resident Hervey Farrell was charged with extortion and video voyeurism for the April 2012 incident. He allegedly sent the victim a copy of the video and demanded $1000 to make it "disappear". Something he will probably be doing soon.
Deputies in Tangipahoa Parish have recovered two guns that were stolen from a Hammond City Police vehicle last week, but they are still seeking the thief or thieves who took them. The Chevy SUV was burglarized last Friday during the overnight hours. The weapons stolen were a Glock semi-automatic pistol and Remington pump shotgun.
The ACLU has sent Slidell Police a letter warning them they are violating the Constitution every time they arrest a person for begging money from citizens. Louisiana American Civil Liberties
Union director Marjorie Esman says Slidell cops have arrested about 6 people for panhandling so far this year. The police say they've passed her letter on to their lawyers for review.
News for Wednesday 082113
By Dave Graichen
New employment figures show Louisiana added 23-thousand jobs over the course of a year. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, total non-farm employment in July, was at one-point-nine million. A 1.2 percent increase from the previous July. Louisiana Workforce Commission executive director Curt Eysink says over the last year there's been solid job growth across most industry sectors.
According to the legislative audit released yesterday Governor Jindal's privatization of the state's mental health partnership is not working as well as planned. Apparently agencies providing
services are having difficulties getting paid and the plan has added more costs not lessen them. A Department of Health and Hospitals official is calling the audit flawed and misleading.
According to a new poll released by Bobby Jindal's political consultants, the Governor's approval rating is at 50% -- contrary to another poll also released this week that says 35% of voters like
what Jindal is doing. Political analyst Clancy Dubos says the latest poll is inaccurate and based on a politically imbalanced survey group. A group made up of more republicans than democrats or independents.
Democratic polling data released Tuesday shows U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La, currently leading her top Senate challenger, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, by 10 percentage points. The data from Public Policy Polling, which conducts polls mostly for Democrats, comes one day after two GOP polls showed Landrieu either leading by a smaller margin or trailing Cassidy entirely.
Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo signed up at the Secretary of State's office Tuesday for the 5th district Congressional district race, he is one of three democrats in the race. The other two are state representatives Marcus Hunter and Robert Johnson. State Senator Neil Riser of Columbia and Blake Weatherly Of Calhoun are the only two republican to qualify thus far. Libertarian and former BESE candidate Henry Herford has also thrown his hat in the ring. Qualifying ends today.
The state’s largest network of universities announced a deal on Monday that is supposed to help more than 92,000 students at the University of New Orleans, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and seven other schools across the state have an easier time finding jobs upon graduation. The University of Louisiana System’s partnership with Austin, Texas-based MyEdu is also billed as a way for students to stay on track with their schoolwork, shorten their time to graduation and find internships.
A developer with close ties to Governor Bobby Jindal has been charged by federal authorities with fraudulently billing the state Hurricane Katrina recovery program. Praveen Kailas has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds. Kailas, through his Lago Construction, padded billing for the Katrina Small Rental Property Program; reporting hours not worked by employees he didn't have.
A federal jury convicted St. Landry Parish School Board member Quincy Richard Sr. Tuesday on bribery charges for soliciting and accepting $5,000 from a superintendent candidate in exchange for Richard’s vote to give him the job. Richard and fellow board member John Miller were accused of accepting $5,000 each from superintendent candidate Joseph Cassimere, in an exchange that was recorded by the FBI after Cassimere reported the bribery attempt to authorities. Miller pleaded guilty earlier this year and testified in the trial this week against Richard.
A state teachers union meets today with Education Superintendent John White to discuss many matters, including the state's stringent new teacher evaluation system - also known as Act 1 of the 2012 Legislature. Louisiana Association of Educators President Debbie Meaux (MO) says it's time to step back and take another look at Act 1. Act 1 changed how teachers are hired, compensated, evaluated and Terminated...and has been the subject of a number of legal actions. Last week, a state judge granted an injunction blocking Ouachita Parish schools from firing a teacher under Act 1, citing lack of due process. Meaux says they want to work with Supt. White to improve the law.
According to the latest Nielson Top 20 ratings for prime-time shows, last week Duck Dynasty was the most watched show -- and is the only cable network show to even crack the Top 15. The numbers indicate 11.77 million people watched the Season 4 premiere of the A&E show about the Robertson family from West Monroe.
St. Landry Sheriff's deputies are investigating a human skull; dug up by a dog near Opelousas. Investigators and cadaver dogs searched the woods in the area near where the skull turned up, but no other remains, nor grave site have been found. The skull has been sent to LSU's FACES forensics lab to determine the gender, how long it may have been buried and to possibly do a facial reconstruction.
According to data gathered by Survey Monkey for Business Insider Magazine, Louisiana is the drunkest state in the nation. The same poll found that Americans feel Alabama is the ugliest state and Mississippi is the dumbest. Business Insider's Walter Hickey says respondents felt that we really like to drink in Louisiana. Hickey says the results of the survey were not only hilarious but .
also informative and are very telling of the dynamic between states. He says Texas was voted No. 1 most respondents would like to see kicked out of America.
The city of Mandeville, in St. Tammany Parish, has been named Google's 2013 eCity for Louisiana. The award recognizes the city for its strong online business environment; embracing the web to connect with new customers, clients and to help fuel the local economy.
Lafourche Parish deputies arrest a Larose man for allegedly engaging in sex with livestock. Deputies say a resident called them saying someone was trespassing in his barn. An investigation and DNA evidence collected led to a 34-year-old man who admitted to four unnatural acts with the animals. Charged with Crimes Against Nature, his bond is set at $37,500.
News for Tuesday 082013
By Dave Graichen
Police in Lafayette are investigating Sunday's early morning murder of a Pineville woman. Cpl Paul Mouton says 51-year-old Connie Burch was found dead by officers lying on a sidewalk with a single gunshot wound. He says they are seeking a person of interest in the shooting. Mouton says a potential witness, saw a man leaving the scene on a bike. He's described as a thin build black male, with dreadlocks, wearing a white muscle shirt and red shorts. They are asking anyone with information to please contact the authorities.
A new poll on the October special election to replace outgoing Congressman Rodney Alexander shows Columbia GOP State Senator Neil Riser in the lead. The independent poll was done by pollster John Couvillon, with JMC Analytics. He says his survey of over 750 likely voters shows
nearly 30% support Riser. The poll shows Riser leads with 29%. Democratic Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo has 11%, and Marksville Democrat State Rep. Robert Johnson with 11%. 29% are undecided. In yesterday's first day of qualifying for the race, Riser, Johnson and Monroe state Rep. Marcus Hunter signed up. Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo is also expected to qualify
A crowded field is expected in two years when the gubernatorial election takes place. Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne, Congressman Rodney Alexander, state treasurer John Kennedy, state representative John Bel Edwards are potential candidates. Senator David Vitter could also get into the race, but, Vitter says his focus is on his work in Washington and not a gubernatorial campaign.
A mayor from a small town in Lincoln Parish plans on running for governor in 2015. Sixty-year-old Willie Hendricks has been the mayor of Simsboro since 2006 and he would like to live in the governor's mansion one day. Hendricks says if he's elected as our next governor, public education would be his number one priority.
Governor Bobby Jindal is in Alberta Canada today. Today, the governor will address the Canadian Oilmen's Business Forum Luncheon to make the case for building the Keystone XL Pipeline because of its benefits for Louisiana, Gulf States and the US economy.
Remember Governor Jindal's ill-fated plan to end state income taxes while raising some sales taxes and fees? It was dead on arrival in the 2013 Legislative session. A Baton Rouge newspaper reports that development and promotion of that plan will cost taxpayers almost $800-thousand. That money was spent on consultants, media marketing, PR and website design.
Residents in Crowley have been reporting sightings of the extremely venomous coral snakes in their yards. Biologist Jeff Boundy with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries believes the snakes are making their way to subdivisions from the wooded areas along the Mermentau River. Boundy says coral snakes are highly secretive and they are likely to move around in pine mulch or leaf litter. He says if you happen to see one, leave it alone. The usually will only bite if you try to pick them up. If you get bit, seek medical care at once.
Residents of Mossville want the Sasol energy company to answer some of their questions before they sell their homes to them. The South African company plans to build a $14.5 billion complex near Lake Charles. The residents been asking for a higher price or a mineral lease in addition. A company spokesperson says the buyout offers are generous and the company will only respond to written questions.
There will be a Memorial Prayer Service Today for the three hotages taken last week at a bank in St. Joseph. LaDean McDaniel, Jay Warbington (who both died), Patricia White the survivor and their families will all be lifted up in prayer. The entire public is invited to attend at the Tensas State Bank tonight at 6pm .
Police say Troy Broussard of Swamp People was involved in an accident in Shreveport when an airboat he was hauling was hit from behind. They say around 9 yesterday morning, a Ford Expedition struck the trailer on a truck driven by Broussard sending the boat flying through the air and even knocking down a power line. The driver of the SUV was taken to a hospital but her injuries are unknown at this time.
Due to the discovery of additional waste material including asbestos completion of the waste removal from the St. Mary Parish' Marine Shale Processors has been pushed back from this past June to the 23rd of this month according to the state's environmental department. The company had once burned hazardous materials.
Kleinpeter Farms Dairy, which produces milk and ice cream out of Baton Rouge, is celebrating their 100th anniversary this year. It's rare to find any business that has stayed in the hands of one family for so long, and President Jeff Kleinpeter says they are very proud of that. He feels the key to their success has been passion, dedication and the willingness to do things right.
State Police say a driver is under arrest in a fatal hit and run crash in Terrebonne Parish that claimed the life of a pedestrian. They say 40-year-old Sandy Carlisle of Schriever veered off the road for unknown reasons and ran over 24-year-old Taja Wilson. Carlisle initially fled the scene, but as officers were working the accident the suspect later returned and was arrested.
Officials in St. John the Baptist Parish say coyotes are becoming a problem. They say packs have been spotted around schools and subdivisions and pets have gone missing. The Parish Council thinks the coyotes were driver out of the swampy habitat by Hurricane Isaac.
Deputies in Tangipahoa Parish arrest a Loranger man for allegedly soliciting sex from two juveniles...at a church. 53-year-old Robert Elie, Jr. is charged with indecent behavior with a minor and remains in the parish jail. Deputies say the children were not harmed and managed to get away from Elie. An investigation into the Sunday incident is underway.
News for Friday 081613
By Dave Graichen
Tropical Storm Erin has formed in the far eastern Atlantic. She is forecast to keep moving west over the next few days. The Caribbean disturbance that is approaching the Gulf is now at a 50 percent chance that it will continue to develop.
That tropical wave in the Gulf of Mexico is now less of a threat to Louisiana than it was just 24 hours ago. Jonathan Brazzell with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles says the disturbance is now less organized. And the National Hurricane Center has also lowered the chances of the wave developing into a named storm.
The second hostage who was shot Tuesday in St. Joseph has died. LaDean McDaniel was taken off life support yesterday. She was shot by a gunman who was holding her and two others in a room at the Tensas State Bank during negotiations with officers. One hostage was let go. Before SWAT took down the man, he shot McDaniel and Jay Warbington...who died that day.
According to a new report by Families For Better Care, Louisiana ranks second-worst in the nation for nursing home care. The report says Louisiana gets an F in patient care -- and found that patients here receive an average of just 32 minutes of professional nursing care per day. Texas ranked as worst in the report which also found that one in five nursing homes abused, neglected or mistreated residents in almost half of all states.
Lawmakers have reversed themselves and are now backing a 257-million dollar agreement with an energy company from South Africa that wants to build a multi-billion dollar fuel plant in the southwestern part of the state. A week after delaying a vote, the Joint Legislative Committee on the budget agreed to the contact with Sasol Limited without any objection. Sasol plans to build a complex near Lake Charles that would turn natural gas into chemicals, diesel and other fuels while creating nearly 13-hundred new jobs.
More than 160 soldiers in Covington, Independence, and Gonzales-based engineer companies with the Louisiana National Guard are headed to Kuwait. They will spend a year working in construction. The deployment ceremony will be held Today in Hammond at Southeastern University.
A deployment ceremony is set for Sunday, Aug. 18, in Alexandria for members of the Louisiana National Guard’s 844th Engineer Company, 527th Engineer Battalion. They will bid farewell to family and friends during the ceremony at 10 a.m. Sunday in the Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center at 1202 Third St. The 844th, based in Pineville and with detachment locations in Ruston and Monroe, will deploy more than 160 soldiers to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. They will help maintain and upgrade base camps and provide engineer support for all base camps throughout Kuwait.
US Senator David Vitter tells Louisiana residents at a town hall meeting in Baton Rouge he would rather see a federal government shut shutdown than support the use of taxpayer money for President Barak Obama's health care law. Vitter says there are serious problems with
the legislation. Vitter told the town hall attendees he will not vote for a bill that will keep US government services going beyond September 30th if it contains money to implement the new healthcare law.
In a case of “just in case,” the state’s insurer of last resort received permission Thursday to secure a $125 million line of credit to pay off storm damage. The State Bond Commission granted the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation’s request to increase its line of credit from $75 million to $125 million. Citizens CEO David Thomas said the corporation has sufficient funding and insurance to cover damage inflicted by one hurricane and the line of credit would be utilized only if a second storm hits the state.
A remembrance ceremony is being held today, one year after two St. John the Baptist Parish sheriff deputies were fatally wounded and two others severely injured in a shootout with anti-Government extremists who lived in a LaPlace trailer park. Deputies Brandon Nielsen and Jeremy Triche were killed. Seven people were initially charged for their roles in the shootings, 3 of them are still waiting trial.
The Louisiana Republican Party begins a statewide effort today to beat Senator Mary Landrieu in next year's U-S Senate race. The state GOP is starting a "Red to the Roots" Tour and the party says it’s a chance to organize ahead of the 2014 elections. The "Red to the Roots" Tour gets underway this morning in Winnsboro. There will also be events in Rayville, Monroe and Sterlington today. The
different stops will feature legislators, local public figures and political consultants.
Louisiana's “Duck Dynasty” family set another cable-TV ratings record with Wednesday’s premiere of season four on A&E. A record 11.8 million viewers tuned in, making it the most watched non-fiction series in cable history.
News for Thursday 081513
By Dave Graichen
State Rep. Robert Johnson, a democrat from Marksville, said Wednesday he will run for the 5th congressional district seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander. Johnson, who will discuss his plans Thursday at Marksville High School, becomes the first announced Democrat in the race who could receive support from the Louisiana Democratic Party as the party seeks to claim another seat in Congress.
There was a shooting in Alexandria yesterday afternoon. The APD reports the shooting took place just before 1:30 in the 1300 block of Fenner Street. The unidentified victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment, but no information about the victim was released.
Forecasters are keeping an eye on two tropical waves, one of them is approaching the Gulf of Mexico. State Climatologist Barry Keim says there's a good chance both of these systems will turn into a named storm. The broad area of low pressure in the northwestern Caribbean Sea is
moving west-northwest at ten to 15 miles per hour and it’s expected to make its way into the gulf of Mexico. But the good news according to Keim is conditions over the gulf are not very supportive for tropical storm or hurricane development right now. However, it does appear that hurricane season is starting to warm up.
The town of St. Joseph in Tensas (Ten-Saw) Parish is coming together today as they move forward from Tuesday's hostage incident where a crazed gunman shot two employees at Tensas State Bank, killing one of them. The 20-year-old shooter was gunned down by troopers just before midnight Tuesday after he shot the two remaining victims in the chest -- one of them died the other rushed to the hospital and is still in critical condition.
State Treasurer John Kennedy said Wednesday that 19 community organizations have three weeks to detail how they spent taxpayer dollars. The groups in Kennedy’s crosshairs include groups in New Orleans and Lafayette with ties to current and former legislators. Kennedy threatened last month to forward files on 34 community groups to a new state debt collection unit unless they explained how $4.5 million in taxpayer money was spent. The groups, called nongovernmental organizations, or ngos, are supposed to file paperwork after receiving money from the state.
A state judge has found the LSU Board of Supervisors in contempt of court for not complying with her April 30 order to turn over to The Advocate and The Times-Picayune newspapers records related to the university’s search for a new president. District Judge Janice Clark on Wednesday fined LSU $500 a day for each day the school fails to comply with her order. LSU’s attorney says the school will continue to appeal Clark’s ruling as well as the contempt citation.
The governor's coastal adviser tells lawmakers he's not happy the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority filed suit against the oil and gas industry. The levee board alleges nearly 100 oil and gas companies are responsible for damage done to Louisiana's coast. But Garret Graves, says the levee board is not looking at the big picture. Graves says the Army Corps of Engineers is the bigger culprit when it comes to coastal land loss.
The owner of the Southwest Rice Mill in Crowley pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal environmental charge in a deal that calls for his company to pay $1 million to reimburse federal and state agencies for cleaning up an estimated 266 barrels of waste oil that leaked from a damaged tank near the mill. The owner of the mill was accused of not alerting authorities to the spilled oil, which flowed down a drainage ditch and then into Bayou Blanc in Crowley.
Here's one that you don't see every day. Police in Scott say a very intoxicated man rode his horse into a bar called Cowboy's last night, causing a major disturbance. Chief of Police Chad Leger says
26-year-old Jeremy Mouton was asked to leave the bar by management and he wasn't happy about it. He says the suspect lassoed a man and then drug him around behind the horse in the parking lot. He is charged with a long list of crimes, including disturbing the peace, second-degree battery and public intimidation.
The St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's office says a man is under arrest after deputies found over 30 dead dogs, including 29 puppies, in his refrigerator. They say they received a tip from 52-year-old Juan
Toledo's girlfriend. He's been charged with a count of animal cruelty for each dog.
News for Wednesday 081413
By Dave Graichen
Authorities say a man who took hostages at a bank in rural Louisiana shot the two remaining hostages before being shot and killed by police. Louisiana State Police superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson says that during negotiations with law enforcement, the suspect — identified as 20-year-old Fuaed Abdo Ahmed — said he was going to kill the hostages. Law enforcement then entered the building just before midnight Tuesday. Edmonson says that’s when Ahmed shot the two hostages in the upper body and then state police shot and killed him. Edmonson says the hostages were taken from the scene in critical condition.
The Vernon Parish Sheriff's office says they've discovered a third massive marijuana field worth a street value of an estimated $22 million. Assistant Chief Marvin Hilton says the two acre field contained about 14,800 plants over two acres and was very well manicured. Hilton says a field with 7,000 plants was discovered in June, then a few weeks later a smaller growth operation was uncovered. He says narcotics agents believe that Mexican Nationals are responsible for these grows.
State police have arrested a Texas man after he was pulled over on I-10 east of Breaux Bridge and they found almost 692 pounds of marijuana in the van he was driving. The driver and lone occupant of the van, 38-year old Pedro Matamoros of Brownsville, was also charged with improper lane usage as well as possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. Street value about a million bucks.
A candidate for the soon to be vacated fifth congressional seat says it appears the election is rigged. State Representative Jay Morris, a republican from Monroe, plans to qualify for the October primary next week, but he says Rodney Alexander's retirement from Congress and quick decision to join the Jindal administration are peculiar. On August sixth, Alexander announced he was resigning from the US House. The next day Alexander accepted the job as the Louisiana Secretary of Veterans Affairs. State Senator Neil Riser of Columbia announced his candidacy right away. Morris says the whole thing appears to be rigged so Riser can win. Riser, Alexander, a Jindal spokesperson and political consultant Timmy Tepell, all deny they worked to give Riser an advantage over his competition.
The Monroe News Star reports that US Representative Rodney Alexander is keeping the door open for a possible run at governor in 2015. Alexander said he has been approached by supporters since last week’s announcement who are encouraging him to enter the race. He says at this point, he won’t say no to anything.
Louisiana ranked sixth on an integrity list compiled by a Chicago-based watchdog group. The Better Government Association gave the state marks for laws governing freedom of information, open meetings and conflicts of interest. Louisiana’s lowest mark was in whistleblower protection. On overall integrity, the state finished behind Rhode Island, New Jersey, Illinois, Nebraska and California. No state received a score above 70 percent
According to federal health officials, Louisiana recovered more than $124 million in fraudulent Medicaid payments during the last fiscal year, leading the nation in recovery efforts. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that Louisiana’s recovery rate of nearly 2 percent of all Medicaid dollars spent was the highest of any state. On average, states recover less than 0.6 percent of their respective Medicaid budgets.
Police say a fourth arrest has been made in the case of Shreveport firefighters who reportedly abused two mentally handicapped men and even allegedly paid a woman to have sex with one of them.
The Terrebonne Parish Council has decided to hold off on moving forward with a proposed ordinance that would ban sleeping in parks and other public areas. The ordinance is designed to keep homeless people from sleeping on park benches. But Council Chairwoman Beryl
Amedee made the motion to delay any action on this proposed law, so the parish's legal department can determine how to word such an ordinance, so that it would not be struck down in court.
Officials say a woman in Loranger has pleaded no contest today to negligent injury after her pit pull attacked an 8 year old girl in Hammond last year. 40-year-old Bridgette Harper will be sentenced
next month. She faces a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a fine.
The fourth season of A&E's most watched show featuring the loving Robertson's from West Monroe, Duck Dynasty, will premiere tonight. The network previewed tonight's episode saying Phil and Miss Kay will renew their vows. Willie and Jep's wives apparently decide they are going to plan a wedding for the occasion. It's also been previously reported that the Robertson's third and oldest son, Alan, will be making his first introductions on the show. Tonight's episode is called, "Till Duck Do Us Part".
The Touchdown Express, a service of the Baton Rouge public transportation system that shuttles LSU fans from downtown to Tiger Stadium for each home game will be operating again this season. However, it's now going to cost ten dollars for the round trip instead of the usual four dollars. Transportation officials say that's because they lost a grant that picked up most of the cost. LSU kicks off the home season September 7th against UAB.
A new study out of LSU finds that people who suffer from social anxiety disorder, are seven times more likely to be addicted to pot. Julia Buckner is an assistant professor in the department of Psychology. She says the problem is not that these people smoke pot, but that they rely on the drug to help them cope with anxiety. Buckner says her research into this issue is on-going and she's currently developing a new treatment that would help people with both their marijuana use and anxiety disorder. She says people with substance abuse problems are usually sent to rehab, but their psychological disorders are seldom addressed.
News for Tuesday 081213
By Dave Graichen
It looks like the renovation of the Rapides parish Coliseum may soon be back on track. The Rapides Parish Police Jury turned the $23 million project over to Alliance Design Group LLC Monday. The jury voted to hire Alliance moments after terminating its contract with Barron, Heinberg & Brocato, which recently told the jury it could not complete its design for a renovated coliseum within the agreed upon budget. After hearing from BH&B two weeks ago, jury members met with Bill Tudor of Alliance who assured them his design will work within the construction budget.
The Washington Examiner reports some within the republican party want Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertston to run for US Representative Rodney Alexander's congressional seat. Alexander is stepping down and an election for his seat will be held in October. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says the odds of Willie Robertson running for Congress are low, but if he wants to get into politics, now would be a great time. The fourth season of Duck Dynasty debuts tomorrow night on A-and-E.
The Louisiana Lottery announces they've transferred over $160 million to the state treasury for K-12 public education after making more than $447.3 million in revenue for the fiscal year 2013. Spokeswoman Kimberly Chopin that's $26.2 million more than the state expected mostly due to the two record Powerball jackpots. Chopin says 35 percent of all Lottery proceeds in Louisiana is transferred to the state treasury and dedicated for K-12 public education. According to Chopin, no other lottery jurisdiction in the US contributes a greater percentage of revenue to its government.
House Speaker Chuck Kleckley calls on higher education leaders to come together and present the legislature with ways to adequately fund public colleges and universities. Since 2008, higher education has seen nearly a 700-million dollar cut in state funding, which has led to budget cuts on campuses. Kleckley says he's open to any ideas. However, Higher education leaders have been asking for greater control over tuition costs, but that idea has been rejected by the legislature. Kleckley says state lawmakers are not going to grant that request, unless they know graduation and retention rates will improve..
State police are investigating a crash on I-20 just east of Gibsland early yesterday morning. Bienville Parish authorities say a family of five where pulled over to the side of the road as the father helped the seven-year-old son out because he was not feeling well. It was at that moment an 18-wheeler drove off the road crashing into their van killing the boy, his dad, and the semi driver.
An ordinance is being considered by the Terrebonne Parish Council that would make it illegal for anyone to sleep in public. Officials there say they're getting a lot of complaints about parks becoming bedrooms for homeless people. But the executive director of the Louisiana American Civil Liberties Union Marjorie Esman says a law like this is no way to go about solving the problem. She says the parish should bring on new programs that would help assist people who don't have a place to live or a bed to sleep in. She calls such an ordinance bad public policy..
The crazy ants have finally been confirmed in Louisiana. In fact, the folks in north Baton Rouge around Central, Baker and Scotlandville have been inundated by the small, reddish brown insects. They're called crazy ants because they simply run around in patterns that make no sense. They form huge mounds with several queens. The good news if there is any good news is they don't sting, rarely bite and if they do, their bite isn't really felt by too many folks. And when you spray them, they die.
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office has agreed to pay $100,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the mother of man who died after he was shocked with a Taser stun gun in 2010. The 28-year-old man was tased twice after he allegedly became uncooperative when approached for questioning about a suspected drug deal . the coroner’s report said he died from complications of bronchial asthma, but also found that “the stress resulting from the physical altercation with the police and the use of a Taser device were also contributing factors.
It's been a slight change, but the gas prices in Louisiana have been dropping over the past several days as the summer travel season winds down. Don Redman with the American Automobile Association says the current statewide average for a gallon of regular is about 5 cents less than it was this time last week and about 12 cents cheaper than it was at this time last year. He says they feel the drop will continue but that could change at a moment's notice if problems arise in the middle east.
The ongoing federal budget stalemate that led to the so-called “sequester” also could affect more than $1 billion in anticipated coastal restoration funds for Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states. The sequester, which began in March its across-the-board spending reductions, is holding back 5 percent of the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund and that increases to 7.2 percent beginning Oct. 1 for the 2014 fiscal year. The federal government is estimating setting aside $23 million in the fund for the upcoming fiscal year. But the concern is that if the sequester continues, well more than $1 billion could be halted from going to the affected Gulf Coast states once all of the BP civil penalties are determined. The next phase of the BP oil leak trial begins on Sept. 30, and the outcome could determine how much Louisiana and four other states get.
News for Monday 081213
By Dave Graichen
A Marksville man was killed in a single vehicle accident yesterday morning shortly before noon on highway 1, just north of Marksville, when his vehicle left the roadway and collided with a tree. 57 year old Charles Washington was pronounced dead at the scene. State police say he was not wearing a seatbelt.
Two top police officers in the town of Henderson are scheduled in court today on charges related to an alleged illegal ticket quota & bounty system. St. Martin Parish Prosecutor Chester Cedars says Police Chief Leroy Guidry and Deputy Chief Oliver Lloyd are accused of improperly rewarding officers for tickets issued to motorists on Interstate 10. Cedars says the chief and deputy chief were charged after an exhaustive investigation by the state Inspector General. He says they were allegedly rewarding officers with an hour of overtime pay for every two tickets written; the overtime paid from a state Highway Safety Commission grant. Guidry and Lloyd have remained on the job since their arrest last September. Cedars says the two are due in court this afternoon for arraignment on the charges of malfeasance, public payroll fraud and filing false public records.
The man who caused chaos on LSU's campus last year after calling in a bomb threat was sentenced Friday to 24 years at hard labor with no possibility of parole. 43 Year Old William Bouvay plead guilty in April to the charges stemming from the call he made last September. Prosecutors said the fake bomb threat cost LSU $1.4 million.
A federal judge overseeing a lawsuit that claims Angola death row inmates live in dangerously hot conditions will tour that area of the prison today. Judge Brian Jackson is trying to determine if the prisoners have been subjected to cruel or unusual punishment. The Judge heard testimony last week from the plaintiffs' attorneys, who claim the heat index has reached over 170 degrees. State officials claim that is not the case. Judge Jackson could issue a ruling as early as next week.
A recent piece by John Maginnis on "LAPolitics.com" says Republican insiders are trying to coax Public Service Commission member Scott Angelle to run for U.S. Senate next year. The article says GOP movers & shakers are uncertain Congressman Bill Cassidy could beat Mary Landrieu. Maginnis says the U.S. Senate wasn't "on Scott Angelle's radar" until "nervous Republicans" put it there. The 2014 race is high stakes for Mary Landrieu and for the Democrats, in holding their US Senate majority.
The waiting list for a state program that provides at-home services for the developmentally disabled has grown to over ten-thousand. State Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Kathy Kleibert (Klee-bear) says they are trying to find ways to reduce the waiting list, but the program did not receive any additional funding this fiscal year. The program is called the New Opportunity Waiver, and it uses state and federal Medicaid funding to pay for specialized equipment, supplies, nursing services and at-home care for disabled children and adults. Kliebert says they will prioritize applicants and see if others could be better served through another program.
LSU held its annual football media day yesterday and it was the first time reporters had a chance to talk with new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron since the preseason camp started. Many wonder how the offense will change under Cameron, but he says there's one thing that will stay the same and that's a physical style of football. Cameron was brought in to get the best out of senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Cameron expects to see a more accurate throwing Q-B this season.
News for Friday 080913
By Dave Graichen
Governor Bobby Jindal has issued an executive order, setting dates for special elections to replace 5th District Congressman Rodney Alexander. A primary is set for October 19th, with a November 16th general election. Supporters are already falling behind Columbia state Senator Neil Riser. Congressman Charles Boustany has endorsed Riser, and there are reports that Congressman John Fleming backs him too. Word is, Ruston Democrat state Senator Rick Gallot is likely to get in
the race, as is Monroe Democrat Rep. Marcus Hunter.
The Saints kick-off the preseason tonight against the Kansas City Chiefs. The starters will be on the field for just a few plays, but Saints radio color analyst Hokie Gajan says he hopes Charles Brown gets a long look at left tackle. The Saints will also show off their new 3-4 defense tonight and tonight is also the first time Coach Sean Payton will be on the sidelines for the Saints, since the playoff loss to San Francisco in January 2012. Hear the game on 96.9 KZMZ.
New research from Stanford University shows Louisiana leads the nation in student achievement at charter schools; ranking near the top in reading and math. Governor Bobby Jindal proudly made the announcement yesterday at a charter school in New Orleans. There are over 100 charter schools in our state; educating some 60-thousand kids. Jindal says charter schools can be especially helpful to kids from low-income homes and kids with disabilities.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has followed the lead of Colorado state University hurricane researchers and has revised its forecast for the remainder of the 2013 storm Season downward slightly. NOAA now expects no more than 19 named storms, but they've trimmed the number expected to become hurricanes down to between 6 and 9.
All the remaining evacuees from Sunday's train derailment in Lawtell, in St. Landry Parish, have been allowed to return home. Cleanup of debris and wrecked train cars is in its final stages, but
any hazardous materials being hauled have been safely moved from the area. Highway 190 is reopened, but State Police ask you still avoid the area if possible. The cost of that train wreck is still being calculated.
The pot has officially been stirred for LSU's season opener against TCU on August 31st -- but this is between coaches. TCU Coach Gary Patterson is criticizing Coach Les Miles for allowing the players to vote on Jeremy Hill's reinstatement. Patterson said the way Miles handled the situation doesn't teach life lessons.
Vanity Fair magazine places Louisiana First Lady Supriya Jindal in the Top Ten of its Best Dressed political wives list. The article praises Mrs. Jindal's style sense, and choice of "body-slimming
suits and lots of Republican-approved red".
The town of Gibsland in Bienville Parish is under investigation by several agencies for more than $80,000 in missing funds. They are also having troubles paying their bills. Entergy has warned they
will be shutting power off to them and the Red River Pump Specialist is suing them for nearly $20,000 in unpaid fees. On the 15th state officials will determine if a fiscal administrator needs to take over
the towns finances.
Officials say a 27-year-old woman will get 150 days in jail for coming to court drunk with her kids. They say Jessica Wood of Larose came to the Lafourche Parish court house on traffic charges, and the staff said they could smell alcohol. Apparently Wood also argued with the judge who then held her in contempt. The young children were put into the custody of the state.
The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's office announces an arrest in last weekend's triple shooting in the parking lot of a Waffle House. Captain Dawn Foret says they booked 22-year-old Larry Chatman of Thibodaux and charged him with three counts of attempted second-degree murder. Foret says Chatman's bond has also been set at one-million dollars. The three people shot in the Waffle House parking lot are recovering from their injuries.
AT&T announces it will hold a job fair Saturday in Houma. The company is looking for technicians to work inside and outside testing equipment and services. The event will take place at the Holiday Inn on Martin Luther King Blvd from 9am-3pm.
Police in Gonzales, in Ascension Parish, seek a man dressed as a woman, who allegedly tried to rob a Capital One Bank branch, but apparently lost his nerve and left. Police Sgt. Steve Nethken says the suspect entered the bank wearing a wig, a woman's hat, black scrubs and carrying a purse. He wrote something on a deposit slip; presumably a hold-up note, but left before his turn in line came up. Nethken says they intend to charge the man with attempted robbery, once he's caught.
More than 700 men and women donning caps and gowns will leave their seats at LSU’s basketball arena Friday, shake hands with university bigwigs and then walk across the stage into their new lives as college graduates. Among the 715 graduates who will pack the arena will be students from 43 Louisiana parishes, 33 states and 32 foreign countries. Their ages range from 66 to 20.
News for Thursday 080813
By Dave Graichen
Bobby Jindal announced yesterday Republican Congressman Rodney Alexander will serve as Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veteran Affairs starting on September 30th. Alexander will resign from Congress, effective on September 26th. This means it will be a wide-open race for the Fifth Congressional District seat. State Senator Neil Riser has told Gannett newspapers he plans to run and Representative Marcus Hunter says he's also very interested. Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo and Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy are potential candidates as well.
Residents of Lawtell who were evacuated from their homes after a train hauling hazardous material fell off the tracks on Sunday, will be allowed to return home today. Cleanup at the site continues, but DEQ says the most dangerous chemical on the train, vinyl chloride did not leak and was removed Tuesday. State Police say US 190 in the area will also open today.
The government official who oversees the National Flood Insurance Program is in south Louisiana today to take a tour of the state's flood protection system. US Senator Mary Landrieu says she'll express her concerns with FEMA Associate Administrator David Miller about higher flood insurance premiums that are coming down the pike. Landrieu says they'll also talk with Miller about the new FEMA maps that punish some communities who do have flood protection, but from non-accredited levees.
A second facility in Louisiana received approval Wednesday from the U.S. Department of Energy to export liquefied natural gas to countries not covered by free trade agreements. Lake Charles Exports LLC is the third such company nationally to be granted approval. Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG Terminal in Cameron Parish was the first Louisiana plant to get that approval. The push by corporations to export more liquefied natural gas coincides with the domestic natural gas boom in Louisiana and other states, as well as the demand in Europe and Asia for more affordable energy sources.
State Police say a suspect believed to be connected to a 2011 hit and run fatality crash in Lafourche Parish is now in custody. Trooper Evan Harrell says Edward Farbe of Larose originally tried to use a false identity during an unrelated arrest in Florida, but officials there found out who he really was and called LSP. He says Farbe was the driver of a truck that was at fault in the accident two years ago that actually claimed the life of one of his passengers and seriously injured the other.
The three-day trial over unsafe heat conditions at Louisiana State Penitentiary has ended. District Judge Brian Jackson did not say Wednesday when he would rule in the lawsuit, but said that because of health claims, it would be important to decide soon.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's office says they've arrested the boyfriend of a woman who was found dead of two gunshot wounds in 2012. Spokeswoman Kim Myers says 53-year-old Leo Thibodeaux told investigators his live-in girlfriend, 37 year old Toni Frabbiele (Fra-Bill), had committed suicide right in front of him. She says a yearlong investigation resulted in a different conclusion. Myers says the crime scene was reconstructed and an autopsy revealed more than a year later, that there was no possible way the woman could have shot herself twice. Thibodeaux was booked with 2nd degree
murder and is being held on $1 million bond.
Two Saints players who were expected to make big impacts in 2013 have been lost to season-ending injuries. Head coach Sean Payton announced both wide receiver Joe Morgan and defensive end Kenyon Coleman are done for the season.
News for Wednesday 080713
By Dave Graichen
Six term 5th District U.S. Congressman Rodney Alexander says he will not seek another term in the 2014 Fall election. The Republican from Quitman says he's not getting any younger and he's grown tired of brutal party politics in Washington and fund-raising. U.L._Monroe political science professor Joshua Stockley says Alexander's decision is a huge loss for the state. This, of course, makes the 5th District race next year wide open. Louisiana's 6th District will also be an open race, as Congressman Bill Cassidy intends to run for U.S. Senate against Mary Landrieu.
The announcement was made yesterday, A preliminary plan has been agreed on for Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital and Rapides Regional Medical Center to take over services currently provided by Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville. The two hospitals have been in talks for months to take over the services as part of the state’s push to privatize its LSU-run hospitals. According to LSU Health Shreveport, which manages Huey P, services will be fully transferred on July 1, 2014. Under the proposed model, Cabrini will handle inpatient psychiatric care, while urgent care and other inpatient care will be shared by the two hospitals. Outpatient care will be provided by clinics throughout the community. Huey P. Long will continue to operate until the takeover next year.
Some evacuees began returning home Tuesday, almost two days after a Union Pacific train carrying dangerous chemicals derailed east of Lawtell in St. Landry Parish forced residents within a mile of the wreck to leave quickly. State Police Col. Mike Edmonson said the evacuation area was reduced Tuesday to a quarter-mile from where 27 tank cars came off the tracks Sunday afternoon. It had been a mile. Highway 190 though, remains closed. State police hope to have it back open sometime on Thursday.
A large crowd was on hand in Marksville yesterday to say good by to Earl Joseph Barbry Sr. The Chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe for the past 35 years. Barbry, was instrumental in getting the tribe recognized by the federal government and for the vision of the tribe’s Marksville casino. Barbry passed away last Wednesday. A Christian wake service was held Monday at the Mari Center, followed by a funeral service Tuesday morning. He was entombed at the St. Paul Catholic Mausoleum in Mansura. Earl Joseph Barbry Sr. was only 62
There's been another ATV fatality in the state and this time a 12-year-old boy has lost his life. State Police say it happened in Natchitoches Parish Monday afternoon when Hunter Cason lost
control of the four wheeler, left the road and smashed into two trees. The boy was not wearing a helmet and was pronounced dead at the scene.
McDermott International has announced it will close it's Morgan City fabrication facility and marine base, which is located in Amelia. The yard will be shuttered late this year or early next year. St.
Mary Parish President Paul Naquin Junior says McDermott's decision will put about five-hundred people out of work.
Tonight's Powerball jackpot is up to an estimated $425 million dollars. Louisiana Lottery spokesperson Kimberly Chopin says the jackpot is set to be the third largest in Powerball history. The lucky winner can choose a lump sum cash payment of $244 million.
Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne is visiting Canada this week meeting with several officials to tout Louisiana and promote travel to our state. Dardenne says Canada is our biggest international market not only from an economic standpoint, but also for tourism. He says they hope the result of this trip will be more out-of country visitors to Louisiana.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office says a Lake Charles woman is behind bars accused of kidnapping, molestation and cruelty to a juvenile. They say 30-year-old Lacey Dronet is accused of holding a 14 year old against her will, encouraging her to do drugs and engaging in inappropriate contact with her several days in July.
The man accused of a racially-charged attack on a family at a Baton Rouge gas station in May pleads not guilty. The District Attorney seeks to put Donald Dickerson away as an habitual offender. During the attack, Dickerson told the victims, who were white, that they were in the wrong neighborhood and weren't getting out.
Just one week after becoming a new father, former Governor Edwin Edwards celebrates his 86th birthday today. Edwards' 34-year-old wife Trina gave birth to the couple's first baby together on August 1st. Edwards says he comes from a long line of people who lived into their 80s and 90s and he feels great. Baby Eli Wallace is Edwards' fifth child and Trina's third. The couple celebrated their 2 year wedding anniversary on July 29th. Edwards says they are all still busy working on their new reality show, "The Governor's Wife" which was supposed to air this summer. But A&E decided to wait till Eli was born so they could get video of the baby -- and they hope the premier will hit A&E this fall.
Volunteers recovered the body of a Denham Springs woman Tuesday afternoon from a deep hole in the Amite River in the northeastern part of East Feliciana Parish. Authorities say the body of 38 year old Martha Dartt was pulled from the river shortly before 5 p.m. Witnesses say Dartt was swimming with her three children and friends in a shallow area off a sandbar when one of the children got too close to a deep area of water and began having trouble. Dartt, who reportedly could not swim, pushed the child toward the bank but went under herself.
News for Tuesday 080613
By Dave Graichen
Members of the Rapides parish police jury met with another architectural firm Monday to discuss the Rapides Coliseum project. The parish is several months into the design phase of a $23 million renovation to the entertainment venue on La. Highway 28 West. Barron Heinberg & Brocato was awarded the project last August, but the jury decided last week to temporarily halt work over concerns BH&B’s design would not work within the budget. On Monday, jurors met with Alliance Design Group, which originally submitted a proposal for the project along with BH&B. no specifics of the meeting were released.
Governor Jindal has declared a State of Emergency as a result of a train derailment in St. Landry Parish. Because the Union Pacific train is carrying hazardous materials, about one-hundred homes were evacuated and U-S 190 in the area has been closed in both directions. Jindal is hopeful the evacuation order will not be prolonged. The train derailed Sunday afternoon near the town of Lawtell.
Suspended LSU running back Jeremy Hill will not have to go to jail for violating his probation last April, when he punched another person in a parking lot of the bar. But Judge Bonnie Jackson said
Monday that Hill will remain on probation until 2015, perform community service and his curfew will remain in place. Within an hour of the judge’s decision, Coach Les Miles announced Hill will be back on the team this fall.
State Education Superintendent John White says the current three high school diploma tracks in Louisiana - basic, college prep and career - do too little to prepare young people for the workplace, or
for the post-secondary education they'll almost surely need to get a decent job. White says he's targeting a package of proposed bills for the Spring Legislative Session to reform high school diploma tracks.
Three Natchitoches Parish Detention Center correctional officers were suspended for 30 days without pay after the escape of a prisoner who later was recaptured while armed near Freeport, Texas.
The unnamed officers were suspended for violating standard operating procedures at the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center. What procedures were violated was not divulged.
State Police say a woman from Ville Platte was killed in an Evangeline Parish Crash Sunday night. They say 33-year-old Monique Branch was crossed a center line and ran off the road, entered a ditch rolled over and struck a house. Brand was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene.
A St. Charles Parish Sheriff's deputy was killed Sunday night while responding to a call. State Police Trooper Melissa Matey says Deputy John Watson was rolling with emergency lights on, when he collided with a car making a left turn across traffic, then careened head-on into a Ford Expedition. A motorcyclist traveling behind the expedition then drove into the back of it. Three other men were injured, one critically, in the crash. Neither Deputy or the driver of the SUV were wearing seat belts. Matey says impairment is not suspected in the crash.
The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's office is looking for a gunman that shot three people who were part of a large gathering in a parking lot of a Waffle House in Gray. Captain Dawn Foret says between 100 to 200 people were in the parking lot early Sunday morning, after attending a concert at the Evergreen Cajun Center. Foret says the shooting could be connected to an incident that
happened at the concert, when two people flashed their guns.
The Department of Health and hospitals says a third case of an intestinal illness caused by a parasite has been confirmed in Louisiana. The newest case here in the nationwide outbreak of
cyclospora has been reported in Caddo Parish. Other states are tracing the illness to pre-packed salads served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster.
A fairly rare occurrence in Monroe, as a local woman gives birth to identical triplets. The three girls came into the world several weeks early and are of pretty low birth weight, but their prognosis
is good. Parents, Hallie and Curtis Coleman have named the girls Savannah, Madelyn and Lell.
A search is underway on the Bogue Chitto River near Franklinton for a young woman who vanished while tubing. The Coast Guard and sheriff's deputies are looking for 22-year-old Melanie Borja, who they say hopped off her inner tube to swim for a few minutes Sunday
afternoon. Friends lost sight of her, and called authorities. The search is encompassing area of five miles in the vicinity of the river.
Federal health officials gave approval Monday to the final piece of the financial deal involving LSU’s partnership with Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services signed off on the arrangement in which the Lake took over operation of LSU outpatient clinics and urgent care center. CMS approved a compensation arrangement in which the Lake receives 95 percent of allowable Medicaid costs. The reimbursement is more than other area hospitals receive.
News for Monday 080513
By Dave Graichen
Baton Rouge is ranked at the top of a list of American cities with great economic growth potential. The ranking is from "Business Facilities", a trade publication. Adam Knapp is president of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (of commerce). He says it's nice to see the hard work that's been done to attract quality business and industry investments to Baton Rouge paying off. Shreveport ranked 9th highest for economic growth potential in the report. Business Facilities" has been a major source of information for folks in the business of project site selection since 1968.
State Police said Union Pacific Railroad crews continue to work at the scene of a train derailment in Lawtell. 26 cars jumped the tracks Sunday afternoon near the small, St. Landry Parish town. State police say There was a possibility that two of the overturned tank cars that contained vinyl chloride were leaking. About 100 residents were evacuated from about 50 homes within a mile of the wreck as a precaution and highway 190 is closed in both direction, is expected to stay that way for another day or so. No one knows what caused the derailment but Mark Davis, a spokesman for Union Pacific, said crews had been working on the track shortly before the derailment. The Union Pacific train, which was coming from Lake Charles and headed to Livonia, had 76 cars.
The long-range hurricane forecast team at Colorado State has reduced its its forecast numbers slightly, but they still predict an above-average season with 18 named storms. Phil Klotzbach says their revised forecast calls for eight hurricanes and three of those will be major storms, which is a slight reduction from their June forecast. Four named storms have formed this year, so based on the Colorado State Forecast team, we'll see 14 more storms. Klotzbach says there's a 40- percent chance a major hurricane will hit the Gulf Coast this year.
State Wildlife & Fisheries are concerned that an invasive species of shrimp could hurt Louisiana's white & brown shrimp populations. LDWF biologist Robert Bourgeois says Asian tiger prawns are easy to spot; some up to a foot long and darker with "tiger stripes." He urges shrimpers to report any catches of these non-native shellfish. However, There is no evidence that tiger prawns EAT our native shrimp species.
The 13th ranked LSU football team is on the practice field for the first time today. The season opener against TCU is still over 3 weeks away and Coach Les Miles will use this time prior to the season opener to experiment a little bit. The mad hatter says that means some players will get looks at different positions.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's office says a man who stepped out of his truck along a road to search for his wife's glasses, was struck and killed by a hit and run vehicle. Col John Fortunato says 46-year-old Edward James of Harvey died at the scene. The hit and run driver later turned himself into authorities.
Fire investigators say the blaze that killed 19 thoroughbred horses at a Haughton stables Thursday night was likely not the result of foul play. Preliminary investigation results point to an electrical
problem as the source of the fire. The owners and trainers of the 19 horses that died are devastated at the loss of their beloved animals.
The town of Clinton in East Feliciana Parish decides to end an adult curfew that was in place every night from 11 PM to 6 AM. When the curfew was in place, residents were not allowed outside after eleven o' clock. The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana filed suit and executive director Marjorie Esman is glad the curfew has been repealed. Esman says this is the second time the ACLU has filed suit against a Louisiana town for imposing a curfew that's not needed.
On Friday, the eve of the one-year anniversary of Texas Brine's failed salt cavern in Bayou Corne that caused a massive 20+ acre sinkhole in Assumption Parish, Governor Bobby Jindal announces the state is suing Texas Brine LLC for environmental damage caused by the collapse. Jindal says they are staying committed to holding Texas Brine accountable for the damage they've caused to Bayou Corne and Louisiana.
St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff's Office says the body of a 17-year-old boy was has been found in a shallow grave and two people have been arrested in connection with the death. Mikivion Anderson went missing on March 24th and was last seen in Garyville. Authorities confirm the victim was shot to death. Two 18 year olds have been booked with second-degree murder.
News for Friday 080213
By Dave Graichen
Just a reminder, Most retail purchases are exempt from state sales tax today and tomorrow.
Over the two days, most items will be exempt from the 4% state sales tax. . Local sales taxes still apply. Those items that are not exempt, are listed on the dept. of revenues website. One other thing, be sure to hold on to receipts for back-to-school items such as supplies, uniforms and educational equipment required by schools. Those purchases may be eligible for tax deductions on your 2013 state income tax return.
About half of Louisiana Voters say they are ready to vote for someone other than Senator Mary Landrieu in next year's U-S Senate election. That's according to a poll by republican firm Magellan Strategies, who says 51-percent of their respondents feel it's time to give a new person a chance. The poll also reveals that 39 percent of the 18-hundred respondents believe Senator Landrieu deserves to be re-elected.
Police in Monroe are investigating the shooting of a 3-year-old boy yesterday. Officers say a 5-year-old was playing with a gun, when it went off striking the toddler. The boy is now in a Monroe hospital with life-threatening injuries. Police are investigating; they say there's some question as to whether the child was shot or actually shot himself accidentally.
A new state law extends the time a parent can legally make use of Louisiana's Safe Haven law. Under the revision, one can now give up an infant to a designated Safe Haven care facility until the baby is 60 days old. Trey Williams, with the Department of Children and Family Services, says up to that point, there no threat of criminal charges. Most hospitals, fire stations and police stations are Safe Havens under the law.
The Department of Health and Hospitals confirms 2 cases of cyclospora have been reported in Louisiana as part of a nationwide outbreak. One of the cases confirmed was in Bienville Parish, and the other in Terrebonne Parish. Nearly 400 people have gotten sick from cyclospora this summer and people can become infected by consuming produce with the parasite on it. DHH encourages everyone to wash all fresh produce before consuming it.
A joint committee of the Louisiana Legislature met for an hour or so during a fishing rodeo weekend in Grand Isle to vote on selling Baton Rouge-area property that would help balance the state’s budget.
Eleven members of the House Committee on Natural Resources and five members of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources voted Thursday to allow the state to sell an office building in downtown Baton Rouge, and the Point Clair Farm, a nearly 2,200 acre-site near St. Gabriel.
Tomorrow marks one year since the sinkhole in Bayou Corne, in Assumption Parish, first appeared. Parish Emergency Preparedness director John Boudreaux says it was on Friday morning, August 3rd of last year when it was discovered the sinkhole formed overnight, beginning months of problems for the parish and for residents nearby. . A year later, Boudreaux says it covers over 20 acres. 150 homes near the sinkhole have been evacuated since mid-August of last year.
Livingston Parish Sheriff's deputies arrest a Walker city police officer for allegedly beating a rape suspect who was already in custody. Deputies arrested 32-year-old Officer James Dipuma for
allegedly striking 19-year-old Raymond Robison several times after arresting him for engaging in sex acts with a minor. The officer is charged with malfeasance and battery. The suspect with aggravated rape, molestation of a juvenile and resisting arrest.
U.S. Sen. John McCain criticized the Justice Department Thursday for making a plea deal with the Halliburton Co. that included “paltry” fines for destroying evidence in the aftermath of the 2010 BP oil leak off the coast of Louisiana. McCain sent a letter Thursday to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking follow-up questions about the Halliburton plea agreement to express concerns about a seemingly lax punishment. Last week, the U.S. Justice Department announced that the oilfield services company agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence in a deal that included a maximum statutory fine of $200,000 and a three-year probationary period. Separate from the plea deal, Halliburton also agreed to pay $55 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The U.S. House Thursday approved legislation by Baton Rouge Congressman Bill Cassidy that would give Congress greater oversight of new environmental rules and regulations on industry. Cassidy’s Energy Consumers Relief Act was approved on a partisan 232-181 vote with just nine Democrats backing the bill that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, from issuing any energy-related regulations considered to have an economic impact of at least $1 billion without additional congressional and Department of Energy approval.
The state Office of Tourism's Louisiana Soundtrack Experience Series visits Ferriday today. Ferriday is the hometown of musical icons Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley and Jimmy Swaggart. Jacques Berry, spokesperson for the Lt. Governor's office, says they have several events planned today, including a concert at 6:00
News for Thursday 080113
By Dave Graichen
Earl Barbry Sr., the chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana who was instrumental in getting federal recognition for the tribe and in bringing the Paragon Casino & Resort to Marksville, passed away Wednesday here in Alexandria, after a long battle with cancer. . Barbry was raised on the Tunica-Biloxi Reservation in Marksville. He was elected the tribe’s chairman in 1978 and was still chairman at his death. Barbry is survived by his wife, two sons and two granddaughters. Earl Barbry was 62
It’s a boy for former Gov. Edwin Edwards and his wife, Trina. The couple welcomed Eli Wallace Edwards in Baton Rouge early Thursday morning just three days after celebrating their second wedding anniversary. Trina Scott Edwards posted the announcement on her Facebook page early Thursday.
Plans to renovation of the Rapides Coliseum are being temporarily put on hold. The Rapides Parish Police Jury met in executive session for about an hour-and-a-half Wednesday with the chosen to design the project, Barron, Heinberg and Brocato. At issue is whether the design BH&B submitted for a “new” coliseum can fit into the construction budget. Word is, the design is several million over the $23 million voters approved. One option presented was a scaled-down version of the original design that would still require significant amount of additional funds. Something the parish could only do by borrowing the money.
A number of new state laws take effect today; among them a ban on using a pad or smartphone to view or post to social media while driving. In addition, publishing the names or addresses of person who have or have applied for concealed weapon carry permits can now get you a $10-thousand fine. Some other new laws; residents can now get lifetime concealed handgun permits, and public schools must now have annual safety drills for possible shooter emergencies and go over the success or failure of those drills with local lawmen.
Funeral services will be held today for former Congresswoman and Louisiana political icon Lindy Boggs, who died last Saturday at age 97. She was the state's first woman to serve in Congress, succeeding husband Hale Boggs who vanished in Alaska in 1972. She was also the first woman to be U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican. Her funeral will be held at the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans' Jackson Square. She'll be buried in her hometown of New Roads in Pointe
State Police say a teen from Coushatta was killed in a tragic ATV accident Wednesday. They say 16-year-old Dakotta Huckabay was driving on LA highway 507 in Red River Parish when he left the road, hit a dirt embankment then overturned. Huckabay was not wearing a helmet and was pronounced dead at the scene.
State Police are investigating an ATV accident that caused the death of a 20-year-old man in St. John the Baptist Parish. Trooper Evan Harrell says Ronnie Brown of Luling was not wearing a helmet when he struck a tree and was ejected from the four-wheeler. Brown was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. Harrell says they later found out the ATV Brown was driving was not his. It was stolen.
Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is in Washington D-C today, participating in a flood insurance reform discussion. Flood insurance rates will rise as the federal government is requiring policy holders to pay more for coverage. Donelon says today's meeting examines whether a
system can be set up so private companies can offer flood insurance. There are 484-thousand flood insurance policies in Louisiana, which is about nine percent of the total nationally.
A St. Martin Parish grand jury on Wednesday chose not to indict Breaux Bridge police officer Travis Guillot in the Dec. 2, 2012, shooting death of a teenager who drove her car into a police cruiser and a pedestrian as she apparently tried to escape a fight. The grand jury reached its decision not to charge the officer after two days of evidence put on by the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office
Wednesday was the final day of the LA-Swift Service between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The bus service started in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to help displaced residents commute to New Orleans. But the state no longer has the money to continue the
transportation service. LA Swift transports more than 12-thousand riders a month. A recent survey says 51-percent of the riders use the service to get to work.
An 85-year-old Lake Charles woman is charged with attempted murder, arson and domestic abuse battery for an unsuccessful attempt to kill a man. Officers went to the woman's home Tuesday night answering a domestic dispute call to find the victim with non-life-threatening injuries. Ida Meche reportedly also tried to set the house on fire. She was taken into custody. Bond has not yet been set.
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