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AAA reminds drivers to be cautious as school nears


With summer coming to a close, school will be back in session in a few short weeks.  The American Automobile Association reminds drivers to be especially cautious before and after school hours as kids head back to the classroom. 


 
AAA's Don Redman says the obvious first safety reminder is to slow down, not only in school zones but in your neighborhood, too.
 
"A pedestrian struck by a vehicle going about 25 miles per hour is nearly two-thirds more likely to survive that than someone who is hit 10 miles per hour faster.  So, make sure you obey those speed limits in those residential areas and certainly around a school area."
 
AAA launched their "School's Open - Drive Carefully" awareness campaign in 1946 to help reduce child pedestrian fatalities and injuries.  Redman says other recommendations to help keep kids safe include coming to a complete stop at stop signs, keeping an eye out for bicycles, and eliminating distractions.
 
"That means put the phone down.  Don't even touch the phone, especially when school's in session.  So just turn it off, keep it off, and eliminate all the distractions in the car itself."
 
Redman says nearly one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur during after-school hours between 3PM and 7PM.  He says if you are the parent of a teen aged driver it is important for you to remind them of their responsibilities on the road and limit the number of passengers they have in their car.
 
"For every teen passenger that your teen gets into the car with them, doubles.  And if you get three or more teens in a vehicle with a novice driver, you're talking about quadrupling the risk of a fatal crash."

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Louisiana ranked 2nd in the country for heartworms in pets


Louisiana is ranked number 2 in the nation for heartworm incidents in pets. At least one million pets in the U.S. are estimated to currently have the disease. The President of the American Heartworm Society Doctor Stephen Jones says the state is unique in the reasons we have outbreaks. 

"You have a mosquito population there that is tremendous. So the mosquito is a problem because it is the transmitter of heartworm disease. You also have a wildlife population that harbors heartworm disease, not to mention many pets that are infected with heartworm disease," Jones says. 

Jones says all it takes in one infected pet in a neighborhood to spike the number of animals with heartworms. He says once a mosquito bites one pet, it can transmit the disease up to half a mile away. 
"When we look at infected pets that are not diagnosed, that pet is going to be a problem for all other pets near it," Jones says. 

Heartworms can cause permanent damage to the heart, lungs and pulmonary arteries and can even be life threatening to our furry friends. Jones says the prevention of heartworms is a big step in keeping pets healthy.  
"Everybody should have their pet tested. When negative they should be placed on heartworm prevention. Prevention is very simple. It comes in various forms, we have topical, we have oral products and we have an injectable product. Heartworm prevention through the use of heartowrm medications is the answer," Jones says. 
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Les Miles speaks at Rotary Club


Michelle Southern reporting.
LSU head coach Les Miles says his talk to the Rotary Club in Baton Rouge is his favorite, because it means football season is about to start. Miles spoke for the last time yesterday before the Tigers begin practice on August 4th and addressed the dual quarterback situation between sophomore Anthony Jennings and freshman Brandon Harris. (photo by Robert Stewart)

"If you've been around me for 10 years then you recognize that I will not make a decision quickly, we're just gonna let this thing play out," Miles said. "The competition is the determinate of play and I think both guys will be talented enough."

Miles says he plans to separate Jennings and Harris between morning and afternoon practices. He says either QB has the potential to be the starter.

Miles told reporters that Trey Lealaimatafao (Lay-EEE-Lah-Tee-Mah-Ta-Fow), who punched through a glass window last week and was cited for allegedly stealing a bike by LSU PD, will probably not play this season.

Coach was also asked about Jalen Mills who was arrested earlier in the summer for allegedly hitting a woman. Miles says he's told things are looking "positive."

"It's a very unfortunate situation. Somebody came to HIS apartment and pursued him," said Miles. "It's just unfortunate on both ends and we'll just have to see how it turns out."
 


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FBI Top 10 wanted fugitive in Lake Charles rape and murder captured


Michelle Southern reporting.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's office and the FBI announce the return and arrest of a Top Ten Fugitive accused in the 2008 murder and rape of a woman in front of a young child. Special Agent John Selleck of the FBI New Orleans field office says they've been looking for 26-year-old Jose Guevara of Lake Charles for 6 years.

"He'd been wanted since 2008 for the alleged murder of a 26-year-old woman in the presence of her 4-year-old step-son," said Selleck.

Selleck says Guevara was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list in June of last year. He says the suspect surrendered to Mexican authorities under pressure and as the result of an extensive and well-coordinated investigation by several state and federal agencies.

"He was arrested recently in Mexico and was kept in a secure location until he returned to the United States yesterday," said Selleck.

Guevera was wanted by the state on charges of second degree murder, aggravated rape and aggravated burglary. He was charged federally with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Selleck says Guevara and the 26-year-old victim lived in the same mobile home park when the brutal crime took place.

"He allegedly broke into the victim's home, sexually assaulted her and brutally stabbed her to death," said Selleck.

 

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Babysitter arrested for having sex with child


Michelle Southern reporting.
The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's office has arrested a Dulac woman for allegedly raping a child she was babysitting. TPSO spokeswoman Captain Dawn Foret says a 17-year-old male told investigators that when he was between the ages of 11 and 13 he had been sexually assaulted by his babysitter who at the time was between the ages of 17 and 19.



She says that woman was identified as 23-year-old Denise Lapeyrouse.

"When we picked her up she confessed to having sex on multiple occasions with the juvenile," said Foret.

Foret says the victim had not told anybody what was going on until recently when he made the report after talking to family members.

Lapeyrouse is charged with aggravated rape and remains in jail.



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DOTD looking into congestion solutions along Highway 1


The Louisiana Department of Transportation is working on a plan to ease the daily traffic congestion along LA Highway 1 and the Mississippi River bridge on Interstate 10 in West Baton Rouge Parish.  DOTD spokesperson Rodney Mallett says they are implementing a couple of short-term fixes to address the problem. 


 
He says the department is expanding the Motorist Assistance Patrol and Tow Program.
 
"We feel like moving some of these accidents and stalled vehicles off of the road will help traffic flow and stop some of the back-ups."
 
He says they are also in the process of putting up message boards identifying drive times using the old bridge and the new bridge.
 
"So, maybe, some of those folds who are going to central or north Baton Rouge area will be more inclined to take the old bridge, the 190 bridge.  And by doing that, you get more people on that bridge and less people on the I-10 bridge.  So we can split up traffic that way."
 
As far as a long-term solution to the congestion goes, Mallett says the DOTD is studying the feasibility of a new Mississippi River bridge, south of the I-10 bridge.
 
"The biggest challenge for any of the long-term, especially like the additional river crossings, is going to be the funding for a new bridge, which will cost in excess of $800 million."

 
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Brees wants to still play at 45


At the beginning of Saints' training camp in West Virginia, quarterback Drew Brees stated that he thought he could play the game for another ten years.  Brees is entering his 14th NFL season this year and says he wasn't joking when he made that statement.
 


"I'm not delusional.  I know that that's something that would be extremely difficult to do.  Not many have done that.  George Blanda, but he was punting past 45."
 
George Blanda was the oldest player in NFL history, retiring prior to his 49th birthday.  If Brees played another 10 seasons in the NFL, he would be 45 years old.  According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, only seven players have played in the NFL past the age of 45, five of those players being kickers.  But Brees says he's determined to hit that goal.
 
"I know it's one year at a time.  And it's what have you done for me lately.  You've got to come out each and every year and you've got to prove it and you've got to be consistent and all those things.  But why not push the envelope a little bit.  Crazier things have happened."
 
The two oldest quarterbacks in NFL history were Steve Deberg and Warren Moon, both of whom started at least one game after their 44th birthday.  Brees says it won't be easy, but he is confident he can still be playing in the league at 45.
 
"You still have to play at a high level.  You've got to find a way to take care of your body and make good decisions in regards to that.  I believe I can do that."
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LSU to get pay raises


LSU faculty and staff are looking at a second straight year of pay raises, following what was a particularly difficult stretch for university funding over the last few years. Faculty and staff members will receive a 3% merit raise, right on the heels of last years 4%. Faculty Senate President Kevin Cope says the pay raise is a welcome news for anyone involved with the university.


 "One thing this means is that we can move to a position of basic stability. We're stopping the blood letting and stopping the exodus of faculty members. Now we are giving a signal that, while lumberingly, that we are moving forward."
 
The pay raise may not only help retain talent, but may also help to attract professors from around the country. While the raise is welcome with the faculty and staff of the university, LSU still lags behind other major state programs in compensation. Cope says LSU has a ways to go.
 
"I would say that if LSU were in a field of 50 horses that comprise major American universities, that we have moved from a trailing position, to the middle of the pack."

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Study commisioned for north Louisiana rail line


A new passenger rail service could be in the works for north Louisiana residents pending the results of a year long study. Increased traffic along the I20 corridor has sparked some interest in the idea. North Louisiana Council Of Governments Executive Director Kent Rodgers says this could be part of the solution.

"Traffic is just increasing in that east-west direction. This is a way to provide an additional mode of transportation."
 
The study is being conducted by engineering firm HNTB Corp, the company who recently completed an analysis of a possible Baton Rouge to New Orleans rail line. Rodgers says we should expect to see some results from the study within a year...

"hopefully in eight to nine months we will have some good hard information."
 
It's an estimated 262 million dollar price tag to build a passenger rail service between New Orleans to Baton Rouge. Rodgers says cost is a big question for a proposed north Louisiana route.

"What would it actually cost to run this thing, and what are the subsidies we would need also?"
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More legal maneuvers in the fight over Common Core


 The state's top school board voted to join a Common Core lawsuit against Governor Bobby Jindal. On a six-to-four vote, BESE will participate in a suit that accuses Jindal of illegal use of executive powers to halt the use of the new education standards. BESE President Chas Roemer supports the move to intervene.


"Given they are arguing our constitutional authority, it makes sense they have a seat at the table while that's being argued."
 
Today's move means BESE will participate in a lawsuit filed by parents and teachers who support the Common Core standards.
 
There are four board members who voted against legal action. BESE member Lottie Beebe calls it a travesty that the state's top school board is involved in a lawsuit against Jindal.
 
"The courts will render a decision. Why can't we live with that decision? Why do we have to go on record when it comes suing the governor of Louisiana."
 
Meanwhile, the Jindal administration has filed a counter lawsuit. It alleges BESE improperly delegated its constitutional authority when it agreed to adopt Common Core testing.  
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Louisiana Tech gets another national recognition


Michelle Southern reporting.
In Money magazine's 2014 Best Colleges list, Louisiana Tech is named as one of the nation's best college values. The rankings were based on educational quality, affordability and alumni earnings data. Tech was named No. 154 in the nation and NO. 2 in Louisiana behind LSU.

"We've enjoyed national recognition for providing that value and that return on investment," said Louisiana Tech spokesman Dave Guerin. "It's something we focus on especially in tough economic times."

Other Louisiana universities ranked include Tulane, Loyola and Grambling State.

Guerin says students know that not only are they going to get a great value for their education at Tech, but they also know they're going to have a wonderful experience at the Ruston university.

"We provide students with research experiences and opportunities to do a variety of things from the time they're freshman to the time they graduate," said Guerin.

Tech President Les Guice says it's national rankings like these that are a testament to the dedication of their faculty and staff who continue to go above and beyond for their students.

Guerin says even though higher education in Louisiana had to endure stiff budget cuts over the past couple of years, Tech's goal was to move ahead.

"We want to focus on growing our institution and growing opportunities for our students and our graduates," Guerin said. "I think that's paid dividends in things like the Money Magazine rankings."



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Ville Platte store manager robbed/murdered


Michelle Southern reporting.
Ville Platte in Evangeline Parish had its first homicide of the year Monday as a store manager was brutally murdered in an apparent armed robbery. Police Chief Neal Lartigue says customers were trying to get into K&T's Meat Market and Grocery around noon yesterday and called for the clerk.

"At that time she didn't answer but someone with a deep voice answered saying that they were closed for business," said Lartigue.

Lartigue says the suspect demanded all customers leave the store and the woman was the only victim. He says later more people tried to enter the store and they saw the suspect in the store.

"He was a black male subject wearing a black cap, white t-shirt, a red bandana over his face and camouflage short pants," said Lartigue. "They noticed he had a gun."

Those witnesses called police and that's when the victim was found dead inside the store.
 
Lartigue says Samuel Anderson was arrested today for armed robbery and first degree murder. 

The victim is identified as Anna Nguyen.
 
 

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