News for Wednesday 092017
By Dave Graichen
The RPSO reports a 16 year old student at Peabody Magnet High was arrested yesterday by a School Resource officer after it was discovered he brought a gun to school. School administrators were the ones who alerted the officer to Tuesday's incident. While the investigation continues, the boy was charged with one count of carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon on school property.
The APD reports three suspects accused in a series of attempted vehicle burglaries early Sunday now face more charges after police were able to determine a wallet found with them had been stolen. All three were charged with simple burglary.
Governor John Bel Edwards released an email poll asking if Louisiana residents support raising the minimum wage. ULM Political Science Professor Dr. Joshua Stockley says this survey is more about fundraising, as many of his supporters already want to increase the state’s minimum wage, which is $7.25. Stockley says this message was also sent out to raise awareness that this is a campaign pledge the governor ran on and he continues to support it. He says Edwards is looking for more public support, as this issue is not gaining traction in the legislature.
The Louisiana Association of Educators says a poll of Louisiana parents finds that 65-percent believe the state places too much emphasis on student testing. L-A-E President Debbie Meaux says parents and their children are not excited about filling out bubbles on a test. The L-A-E survey also found 55-percent of respondents believe a student’s test performance should not play a major role in determining a teacher’s effectiveness. Meaux says tomorrow a new 25-member panel will meet to examine whether public school students are over tested.
Multiple reports say an Adolf Hitler speech was found at the home of Kenneth Gleason, who was booked today in Baton Rouge for the murders of two black men. East Baton Rouge DA Hillar Moore says Gleason could face the death penalty for last week’s fatal shootings. Gleason has also been charged for allegedly shooting up the home of a black family.
Senator Bill Cassidy’s bill to issue block grants to states as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act has support from Louisiana’s junior senator. Republican John Kennedy not only wants to vote for the legislation but he plans to propose an amendment to prevent states from accepting block grants to establish a single payer health insurance system. Kennedy says he would prefer to have private insurance companies provide coverage that could help lower healthcare costs.
Governor John Bel Edwards says he can’t support Senator Cassidy’s legislation, because he says it will lead to the elimination of the Medicaid expansion. Edwards says he’s working with Republican and Democratic governors to promote a solution that makes health insurance more stable and affordable.
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services has received a grant to increase the number of child welfare workers. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says her staff has decreased by 600 employees over the last 10 years and this is an opportunity to address the high turnover rate. Nearly half of the child welfare workers who left DCFS in 2016, had less than three years of service. Walters says there is a direct correlation between the case load and the turnover rate.
A Bawcomville man is facing two counts of aggravated assault after chasing two water meter readers with a golf club. The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office says 53-year-old Tommy Bouwell was allegedly intoxicated when yelled at the victims accusing them of coming at him with a weapon, and that’s when he returned with a golf club and started swinging.
After LSU’s 30-point loss to Mississippi State last Saturday, some are wondering if Head Coach Ed Orgeron was the right man to choose for the job.
But Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says one thing to keep in mind is that Athletic Director Joe Alleva’s fate lies with the Board of Supervisors. Worsham says right now it’s a little too early to guess if there will be any changes in leadership with the athletic department, as there has only been one SEC game this season. But he says the hire of Coach O was strictly a call made by Alleva, and if things remain bleak there will be consequences.
The dangers of hazing have become an important conversation in the wake of LSU freshman Max Gruver’s death. Gruver was pledging at Phi Delta Theta and high amounts of alcohol were found in his system. Executive Director of HazingPrevention.org Emily Pualwan says hazing has been around for centuries. She says it’s different than bullying. Pualwan says universities can look back and see a pattern of hazing, but only realize the escalation after something as terrible as a death occurs. LSU has temporarily shut down their entire Greek system after Gruver’s death.
News for Tuesday 091917
By Dave Graichen
Four sheriff’s offices in Louisiana have filed lawsuits against drug companies and physicians for allegedly helping to grow the opioid crisis. Attorney David Laborde says the defendants have misrepresented the proper use of opioids which has led to an epidemic and an uptick in crime. Avoyelles, Lafayette, Jefferson Davis and Rapides have filed lawsuits in state courts in their respective parishes. Laborde says the sheriff’s offices are seeking to recoup the money law enforcement has spent on dealing with the opioid epidemic.
The Louisiana Democratic Party opposes U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy’s and three other Republican lawmakers bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Party Spokesperson D’Seante Parks says this legislation would end the Medicaid expansion, which covers more than 430-thousand Louisiana residents. Senator Cassidy’s proposed legislation would give block grant funding to each state if it passes. However, the money would not be dedicated as it is now.
According to the U.S. Census data Louisiana’s uninsured rate is 10.3 percent. These were the numbers of uninsured Louisiana residents in 2016. That’s a small decline from 11.9 percent in 2012. The trend comes after Louisiana’s Medicaid program was expanded by Governor John Bel Edwards to offer government-financed health insurance to over 430 thousand low-income adults.
The LSU AgCenter has finalized its contract with GB Sciences which will grow medical marijuana for Louisiana patients who have specific conditions. The marijuana-based medication made by the company is required to be put in oil based medical products. GB Sciences Louisiana will renovate the production facility and availability to patients is expected by mid-2018.
Pennington Biomedical Research Center has been awarded a 6.7 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to study military nutrition and metabolism research. Researcher Dr. Jennifer Rood (Rude) says they will focus on how to ensure a healthy and fit military. Rood says this research could change the eating habits of soldiers.
A Baton Rouge man considered a person of interest in the shooting deaths of two black men last week, has bonded out of jail. 23-year-old Kenneth Gleason was arrested over the weekend on drug charges. Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Don Coppola says Gleason has yet to be cleared of the homicides. He says it’s a possibility that these murders were racially motivated.
The national Phi Delta Theta organization has removed the charter from the Beta Chapter at LSU, where a pledge recently died in a possible hazing incident. The organization said it suspended operations based on information in the investigation of the death of 18-year-old Max Gruver which found some chapter members were in violation of the alcohol-free housing policy. No charges have been filed and East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore says that could take a while.
An explosion in a home injured three people Monday including 92 year old Dwena Henry, an alderman for the village of Stanley in DeSoto parish and her daughter Sharon Fletcher who is the mayor. Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle says William Roe, a friend of the family was also injured. Arbuckle says Henry suffered third-degree burns to over 50-percent of her body and is fighting for her life. Reportedly, Henry was cooking when Roe and Fletcher smelled gas.
The White House held a summit with presidents of black colleges today but Grambling State President Rick Gallot was not there. Gallot says that he was not boycotting, but there’s a lot happening on the Grambling campus between the start of the a new semester and football season.
News for Monday 091817
By Dave Graichen
The median household income in Louisiana declined by over 2-percent in 2016, the largest decrease in the nation according to Census Figures. Dr. LSU Economist Loren Scott says this decrease is a result of the struggling oil and gas industry. He says we have three metropolitan areas that are in a recession, Houma, Lafayette and Shreveport. Louisiana looks to be improving as we gained 24,200 nonfarm jobs since August of last year.
Louisiana’s unemployment rate has now declined for four consecutive months according to data released by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. At 5.2%, the current rate is the lowest it’s been since August of 2008. That figure is also 0.9 percentage points lower from a year ago.
Gas prices have started to decline. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular in Louisiana is $2.39.
Attorney General Jeff Landry is alerting consumers to be on the lookout when buying vehicles, as nearly one million vehicles were flooded in Texas and Florida during recent hurricanes. Landry says these flood-damaged vehicles could end up on the streets and sold to unsuspecting car buyers. He advises consumers to obtain a vehicle history report. Landry says if you suspect someone is knowingly selling a flood damaged vehicle, contact your local authorities or call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection.
East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. Beau Clark has released preliminary autopsy findings on the body of the 18-year-old LSU student who died in what the university had called a possible hazing incident at his fraternity. Clark says they did not find any internal or external signs of trauma on Maxwell Gruver. Clark says Gruver was driven to the hospital in a private vehicle from the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house and was later pronounced dead. His office will provide a comprehensive toxicology test which takes as long as four weeks to complete.
The state lawmaker who admitted to taking money from his campaign fund to fuel a gambling addiction will have to pay a $37,000 fine to the state treasury under an agreement reached Friday. The Louisiana Board of Ethics also said that Representative Dee Richard will no longer be allowed to draw from his war chest. Richard had said his compulsive gambling was a side effect of medication he was taking for Parkinson’s disease.
Today, Governor John Bel Edwards and DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson are in Washington D.C. to meet with the US Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the long-delayed Comite River Diversion Canal, a flood control project for the Baton Rouge area. Wilson says the state has committed a significant amount of resources for this project, and it’s time for the Corps to do their part.
The principal wanted by Baton Rouge police after allegedly locking a 5-year-old in a closet has turned himself in to authorities. Authorities say 31-year-old Shafeeq Deen has been charged with cruelty to a juvenile and false imprisonment. Other students at Laurel Oaks Charter School are coming forward now claiming Deen punished them in similar ways.
And here’s a bizarre story out of Terrebonne Parish. Houma Police arrested a man and woman who were allegedly caught having sex in a library. Authorities say 33-year-old Elizabeth Jernigan and 35-year-old Rex Jernigan also recorded themselves and uploaded the video to a porn site. Through their investigation, it was determined the couple recorded themselves doing similar activities at other businesses.
Authorities say a prison guard at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola fatally shot an inmate after first firing a warning shot. The state department of Corrections says 35-year-old Brandon Lizotte was among a group of prisoners being escorted to work when he aggressively ran towards a correctional officer. The officer fired his service weapon striking Lizotte. Lizotte was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder in Tangipahoa Parish in 2006.
“Tell the truth Monday” will not be kind for the LSU Tigers after they were embarrassed 37-7 by Mississippi State. The Tigers were beat at the line of scrimmage, the defense had blown assignments and LSU also committed 9 penalties for 112 yards. LSU is back in Tiger Stadium on Saturday night as they host Syracuse.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Saints have started 0-2 as they dropped a 36-20 decision to the New England Patriots. Quarterback Tom Brady scorched the New Orleans defense for 447 yards and three touchdowns. On offense, the Saints converted just 33% of their third down opportunities. The Saints have now lost 11 of their last 12 games in the month of September. They travel to Carolina this Sunday.
Louisiana Tech rallied back from a 22-13 4th quarter deficit to beat conference rival Western Kentucky 23-22. Jonathan Barnes 22-yard field goal with two seconds left gave the Bulldogs an important win as they look to win the Conference USA western division.
News for Friday 091517
By Dave Graichen
42 year old Kenneth Seth Thomas of Deville, a police officer with the Alexandria Police Department, was arrested yesterday and charged with malfeasance in office, distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, and possession of a firearm in the presence of the drugs. An investigation led by the State Police and the APD revealed Thomas had engaged in illegal activities by having sex with at least one woman, while on-duty, and distributing illegal drugs. He was arrested and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center. The investigation remains active and ongoing.
State police report Two men died Thursday morning after a head-on collision between a car and an 18 wheeler truck on Louisiana highway 124 near the Winn and LaSalle Parish line. The fatal crash took the lives of 22 year old Logan Franklin from Olla and 26 year old David Lincecum of Grayson. It’s reported both victims were not wearing a seat belt.
The US attorney’s office reports a Georgetown woman will spend two years in prison for counterfeiting $20 bills in Alexandria last year. 20 year old Gena Marie Armstrong was sentenced on Wednesday.
An 18-year-old LSU freshman from Georgia has died in what university officials are calling a possible hazing incident at Phi Delta Fraternity House. LSU System President F King Alexander says the death of Maxwell Gruver is tragic and untimely
Gruver was pronounced dead at a local hospital and Alexander says it is believed alcohol is involved. Phi Delta has been suspended by the school and national organization.
St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith says Fire Chief Steve Krentel has been cleared in the murder of his wife Nanette, who was found in burned home with a gunshot wound to the head in July. Smith says Steve Krentel was their initial primary person of interest. Sheriff Smith says they worked this case as a homicide since day one and will continue to do so.
After a both a regular and special legislative session earlier this year, the state still faces a fiscal cliff in July of next year. That’s when a billion dollars in temporary sales taxes expire. Yesterday House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says get ready to hear scare tactics coming from the governor’s office. In a video posted to his Facebook page, the Republican from Metairie says he expects Governor Edwards to start threatening cuts to important programs like TOPS. The governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Richard Carbo, says Henry is intent on continuing partisan gridlock in the House.
Starting with tonight’s games, several Louisiana high schools are taking in part in “Touchdowns Against Cancer,” an initiative which directly benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The campaign lets their fans pledge a donation for every touchdown scored. The effort is in support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and runs through the end of the month.
An arrest has been made in the murder of a St. Martin Parish woman who was eight months pregnant. Major Ginny Higgins says authorities arrested 32-year-old Toni Trimble Thomas and she is charged with one count of first degree murder and one count of first degree feticide. The suspect’s brother was the boyfriend of the victim, 24-year-old Ashley Nicole Meche.
Louisiana Community and Technical College System president Monty Sullivan would like the state to have a scholarship program that would benefit adults who want to attend one of their two-year campuses. Sullivan calls it a wise investment and can help a mother of two who makes eight dollars an hour receive the training that can lead to an 18-dollar an hour job.
Neville High School in Monroe has been named the most beautiful public high school in Louisiana by Architectural Digest. Dana Jefferson, Executive Director of the school’s Alumni Association, says the school has undergone many renovations to preserve the 86-year-old building. Jefferson says Neville is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and that’s something the students and staff are really proud of.
Louisiana Tech jumps into league play tomorrow by facing the defending Conference USA champion Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. W-K-U is led by senior quarterback Mike White, who is considered one of the top quarterbacks in the country. These two teams met twice last year. Tech won at home 55-52 and then lost in the Conference USA title game. It’s the eighth meeting between the two teams and Tech leads the all-time series four to three. You can hear the game beginning at 4:30 on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3.
LSU gets its first test in the SEC tomorrow night when they visit Mississippi State. The voice of the Tigers, Chris Blair, believes this game will be won in the trenches. LSU had success throwing the football down field last week and Blair anticipates the Tigers opening up the playbook even more tomorrow. Hear the game beginning at 4p on 970 KSYL & 96.9 KZMZ.
News for Thursday 091417
By Dave Graichen
Although it doesn’t resolve the issue, a decision by the Rapides Parish police jury to allocate $200,000 to move prisoners from DC1 to other facilities will take the pressure off for now. The Sheriff's Office is under a mandate from the State Fire Marshall's Office to reduce the population of facility to its capacity of 348. Even though the number of prisoners in the DC1 is down from a high of 395 on Monday, the number is still above the max capacity. Sheriff Hilton sent a letter to the Fire Marshall's Office Wednesday detailing plans to reduce the population. He also asked for a temporary increase to the jail's capacity.
Many people in Alexandria are upset over higher than usual electric bills. The City yesterday announced it has been lengthening its billing cycle for residents charged for utilities from about 28 to 40 days. Why? The city says it is short staffed, with 6 of it’s 9 meter reading positions open. According to a press release, contracted workers are expected to be hired soon until the meter reader vacancies are filled.
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy is a co-author of the last ditch effort by Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Cassidy says the legislation repeals individual and employer mandates, and it gets rid of the medical device tax. The Republican says their proposal also eliminates the inequity in which three states receive 37-percent of Obamacare funds. He says this proposal gives the power back to patients.
House Speaker Taylor Barras has told the Associated Press he believes the House can come up with a plan by January to address the loss of one-billion dollars in tax revenue that expires next summer. Barras says if there’s enough agreement, a special session could be held early next year. There’s been a stalemate between the House and the governor on how to address the fiscal cliff.
Higher Education Commissioner Joe Rallo says the first LaSTEM Advisory Council meeting was successful in discussing how to increase the amount of students who will succeed in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Rallo says right now, if we don’t engage, Louisiana will not catch up with neighboring states when it comes to STEM jobs. He says the council agrees STEM education needs to be a pipeline, starting in Kindergarten and continuing through high school.
One month from today is the general election for State Treasurer. Three Republican candidates are raising money. There’s also a Democrat and Libertarian on the ballot. Publisher of La-politics-dot-com, Jeremy Alford, says Columbia Senator Neil Riser has been the most active in tv advertising. Ex state legislator John Schroder and former Commissioner of Administration Angelle Davis are the other Republicans fundraising. But Alford says none of the candidates have enough money to run TV commercials statewide, which will lead to a low voter turnout on October 14th
The Oil and Gas Industry is helping with recovery efforts in Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. President of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association Chris John says when Harvey hit, it knocked out about 12-percent of the refining capacity for this nation. John says they are making progress with getting Texas refineries back on line. He says Louisiana has tried to produce as much product as possible while Texas plants are recovering.
Authorities made an arrest in the homicide investigation of Ashely Nicole Meche. The St. Martin Parish Sheriff department arrested Toni Trimble Thomas of Breaux Bridge. Trimble Thomas is the sister of the victim’s boyfriend. The 24 year old Meche was eight months pregnant at the time she was killed so Trimble Thomas is charged with second degree murder and second degree feticide. It was determined that her boyfriend, Mark Trimble was not present or involved in the homicide.
Louisiana remains one of the most business-friendly states in the nation, ranking No. 5 in Area Development magazine’s annual Top States for Doing Business survey. This is the second year in a row the publication has ranked Louisiana No. 5.
The St. Tammany Parish Coroner has ruled the death of s fire chief’s wife in July, as a homicide. The body of Nanette Krentel, wife of Fire District 12 Chief Stephen Krentel, was discovered in the rubble of the couple’s home which had burned to the ground on July 7th. Coroner Charles Preston said it was determined from the start Mrs. Krentel died from a gunshot wound. But the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office said in a media advisory that it does not necessarily support the coroner’s conclusion. The sheriff will provide an update on the investigation during a news conference today.
Authorities say they arrested the man shown in a video punching out a student on the LSU Parade Grounds before last Saturday’s football game. He’s been identified as 18 year old Casen Maggio of Prairieville and he been charged with aggravated battery. The official report says several bones in the student’s face were broken.
A homeowner shot and killed an alleged intruder in LaPlace Tuesday night. St. John the Baptist Parish authorities say the homeowner told detectives he heard voices in his yard and went to investigate. When he opened the back door, he was face-to-face with the intruder. No charges have been filed against the homeowner. The whole episode was captured on the home’s video surveillance camera.
The Shreveport City Council has rejected the mayor’s proposal to build a sports complex in the downtown area. The vote was unanimous. Councilman Oliver Jenkins says 30 million of the city’s dollars would be used along with 139 million in private finances. He says they would like to present this project to the public in a different light, because many didn’t know it could bring in a minor league basketball team.
Two weeks into the season and the Ragin Cajuns defense ranks as the third worst out of the 129 F-B-S teams. UL Lafayette has allowed nearly 12-hundred yards. But Head Coach Mark Hudspeth says there’s a great desire to turn things around. The Cajuns gave up 66 points in a loss to Tulsa last week.
News for Wednesday 091317
By Dave Graichen
Pineville PD report rumors of a student making threats to shoot up Pineville High School were unfounded. The student accused of making the threat as well as potential witnesses were interviewed late Monday by Pineville Police, which traced the issue back to social media where rumors of an alleged threat began circulating after school hours.
A 29-member panel meets today in Baton Rouge to discuss ways to get more students interested and improve achievement in the areas of science technology, engineering and math also known as STEM. Slidell Senator Sharon Hewitt is behind this effort to grow STEM programs in schools. Hewitt says major employers, like Amazon who is looking to build a second headquarters, are seeking workers who could perform STEM related jobs.
The Edwards Administration gives the private operator of two state owned north Louisiana hospitals, BRF,45 days to correct alleged violations of a contract. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says the state spoke with Ochsner Health System, which could help BRF run the hospitals. BRF says they anticipate resolving the contract disagreement without being ousted and they’ll use legal action if removed as operator of University Health in Shreveport and University Health Conway in Monroe.
Hundreds of cancer patients and survivors were in Washington D.C. Tuesday to urge Congress to help with the fight against cancer. Louisiana resident Amber Stevens says they are urging lawmakers to support palliative care and hospice education training. She’d like to see funding for cancer research reach 36 billion dollars, a two billion dollar increase over current spending.
Recovery continues in Calcasieu Parish after Tropical Storm Harvey left major flood damage in some areas. OEP Director Dick Gremillion says in the days before the storm made landfall in Calcasieu, a torrential downpour left nearly 500 houses with some water inside. He says flooding also occurred when the Sabine River came out of its banks. Gremillion says they are still waiting to find out if Calcasieu flood victims will be available for federal assistance.
Attorney General Jeff Landry says Louisiana will receive nearly seven million dollars as part of a multi-state settlement with Mylan, which manufacturers EpiPens. Landry says Mylan knowingly overcharged taxpayers for Epipens dispensed to Medicaid beneficiaries.
A new study finds that Louisiana’s lawsuit climate is the worst in the nation, and also showed this ranking is not good when it comes to attracting new businesses. Harold Kim is the executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. He says the survey found that 85% of company attorneys said a state’s lawsuit climate is likely to impact decision making. Kim says the areas Louisiana ranked poorly were the in the competence and impartiality of its judges, the fairness of its juries and quality of appellate review.
Northwestern State University’s fall enrollment has reached its highest ever in the school’s 133-year history, with 10,572 students. NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio says this is one of the most meaningful milestones in the school’s long history. He credits this achievement to the university’s academics. Also,A number of renovations to dormitories on the main campus have made NSU more appealing to students.
LSU Head Football Coach Ed Orgeron has signed an advertising deal with Baton Rouge-based Raising Cane’s. Orgeron will be featured in commercials, billboards and in-restaurant signage for the fast food restaurant that specializes in chicken fingers. Former LSU Head Coach Les Miles had a similar agreement with Cane’s for eight years.
Louisiana lawmakers are working to free a Shreveport man from a Guatemalan jail after he was arrested in March for bringing hunting ammunition in his luggage. U.S. Representative Mike Johnson and U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy met with the country’s ambassador to discuss the case of Zachary Wilson. Johnson says Wilson suffers from ulcerative colitis. Wilson’s family says it is extremely difficult to ship his medication to Guatemala and he is running out of his prescription. Johnson says they understand Guatemala is a sovereign nation and respect the rule of law but the charges brought against Wilson are not justified.
The Saints spent Tuesday breaking down the tape of Monday night’s 29-19 loss to Minnesota. Head Coach Sean Payton says it was not a fun exercise, because of how poorly the team played. This was the 5th time in 6 years the Saints started off the season with a loss.
A few of LSU’s young wide receivers had a chance to shine in last Saturday’s victory over Chattanooga. Stephen (STEF-ON) Sullivan and JaCoby Stevens each caught their first passes on the college level and Drake Davis was wide open when he caught his first TD Pass. However, after two games, LSU is the most penalized team in the SEC, with 21.
News for Tuesday 091217
By Dave Graichen
The maximum capacity of the Rapides Parish jail is 348. But Friday of last week it was determined the population of the jail was well above that figure. The State Fire Marshall’s office gave the sheriff department until 4pm yesterday to resolve the issue. There were meetings between Sheriff Hilton and the Police Jury, the DA and several judges. But at the end of the day, the jail population was still at 395. According to Sheriff Hilton the department now has seven days to get to or below 348 inmates, or it will be assessed a fine of $500 a day
35 year old Mark Thomas, who was indicted as part of the Triple M Murder Team again tried on Monday to remove his attorney, but was denied for the second time. Thomas now faces a Nov. 6 trial on first-degree murder, armed robbery with a firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon and racketeering charges. He was one of 14 members or associates of the Alexandria-based gang indicted after an investigation that lasted more than two years and involved federal, state and local agencies.
The statistical peak of hurricane season is behind us, and State Climatologist Barry Keim says it’s likely we will exceed earlier predictions. But he says right now, it looks as if things are calming down compared to last week. He says there have already been 11 named storms so far in 2017, and if we doubled that it would rank among the second busiest in history.
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is deploying employees and coordinating assistance from other state agencies for Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey response and recovery efforts. GOHSEP spokesman Mike Steele says there is a wide range of needs right now in Florida and Georgia, and ongoing cleanup in Texas, and the state is happy to help. Steele says the state-to-state system was developed after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. He says Louisiana has a lot of experience in what to do after a storm hits.
Kaplan Police Chief Boyd Adams has been arrested on charges of theft and malfeasance in office after an investigation by the Legislative Auditor’s Office. The audit showed the Kaplan Police Recreation Account had not been included in the financial statements for the town, which means it was never audited and that there were no records to support the expenditure of over 19-thousand dollars. The State Police allege Adams used nearly $7000 in funds for himself.
After 9/11 , former Governor Mike Foster started a campaign for Louisianans to raise money to donate new firetrucks to the New York City Fire Department. Enough money was donated to build four firetrucks at the Ferrera Fire Apparatus facility in Livingston Parish. Former owner, Chris Ferrera says 1.2 million dollars was raised and all of the trucks are still in use 16 years later. Ferrera says it’s so amazing that the people of the Bayou State came together and, her says, the legacy continues.
A popular bar for LSU students to attend is apologizing after pictures surfaced on social media that showed a noose hanging from the ceiling and cups with a Blue Confederate flag on them were handed out to patrons. Reggie’s Bar issued a statement that says they apologize to anyone offended.
Thibodaux Police have arrested a man who they found passed out behind the wheel in the drive-through of a restaurant. They say 37-year-old John Sewell Jr allegedly tried to drive off when cops woke him up, but his key had already been removed by officers. The man apparently told detectives he was tired and high. He was booked for Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
The Saints started out the season on a sour note last night with one in the second column. They were whooped by the Vikings 29 - 19
News for Monday 091117
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office is under orders to reduce the parish jail's occupancy by 33 inmates before 4 this afternoon. The jail was found early Friday to have been over occupancy limits for seven days straight, at which point it is violating State Fire Marshal code.
Louisiana utility crews are heading to Georgia to help with any potential power outages from Hurricane Irma. Cleco spokesperson Jennifer Cahill says crews are meeting at the St. Tammany Service Center Today to make the trip to Macon, Georgia. Cahill says Cleco also assisted Georgia Power following Hurricane Matthew.
75 Soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard’s 165th Combat Sustainment and Support Battalion are set to deploy to Afghanistan. Bossier Parish Community College gymnasium will hold a deployment ceremony today for family and friends to bid farewell. Col. Ed Bush says these troops will be overseas for about a year.
Congress approves a measure to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program for the next 90 days, as federal lawmakers work on a long-term solution for the program. US Senator John Kennedy says while this was not his first choice, he’s glad congressional leaders didn’t let the clock run out on the program that expires September 30. Kennedy filed a bill to reauthorize the program for the long term that he says has bipartisan support.
Amazon seeks a location for new corporate headquarters, as the online mega retailer plans to open a second corporate location. State Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says Louisiana has a lot of strengths to offer should we throw our hat in the ring, and its likely we will. Amazon is reportedly looking for a metropolitan area with more than a million people near an international airport with access to mass transit. New Orleans could be a perfect fit. Pierson says the number one rated LED Fast Start program can also offer skilled employees. Pierson has said a prime location could be between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Amazon’s second headquarters will employ 50-thousand workers.
New Orleans plans to make a bid to host World Cup soccer games if North America is named as a host site for one of the biggest sporting events in the world in 2026. President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, Jay Cicero, says the Big Easy has so much to offer to international sports fans. US Soccer plans to announce in the fall a list of potential 25 host cities.
The state department of transportation says there’s been an alarming increase in accidents on I-10 from Lafayette to the Atchafalaya Basin, where two rehabilitation and widening projects are ongoing. DOTD spokesperson Deidra Druilhet says motorists need to slow down. Durilhet says they’re also putting a solid line through the construction zone to deter lane changes.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is asking the public to limit the transportation of Roseau cane, as the species is rapidly dying off. The plant helps to protect the Mississippi River delta and the coastal region. LDWF Biologist Manager Vaughn McDonald says the Roseau cane scale, which is a bug, is killing off the beneficial plant life.
The LSU football team is 2-0, but the Tigers still have a lot to work on as they head into this Saturday’s SEC opener versus Mississippi State in Starkville. While kicking field goals have been a problem, quarterback Danny Etling has looked sharp. Through two games, he’s completed 71-percent of his passes for nearly 400 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. Coach O says Etling looks like a different player this season.
An intriguing matchup to start the season for the Saints as they visit the Minnesota Vikings to kick-off the 2017 campaign. New Orleans led the NFL in total offense last year, while the Vikings had the league’s third-ranked defense, and return most of their starters from 2016. Saints Quarterback Drew Brees says it’s a tough match-up to start the season. Hear the game this evening on 96.9 KZMZ.
News for Friday 090817
By Dave Graichen
The APD has arrested a suspect in a shooting death that took place over the weekend. 19 year old Braylon Dozier of Alexandria was charged with first degree murder and armed robbery with a firearm for an incident on Beatrice Street Sunday night that left a man dead. Dozier was also charged with two additional counts of armed robbery with a firearm for two other incidents. The victim in the Sunday night shooting has been id as Steven Allen. Family members say he was making a pizza delivery at the time he was shot.
Louisiana has been pretty lucky this hurricane season, even after two tropical storms made landfall in the Bayou State. State climatologist Barry Keim says fortunately neither Cindy nor Harvey did much damage in Louisiana. But Keim says we aren’t out of the woods yet, as three storms are currently churning in the Atlantic. The peak of hurricane season is this Sunday.
In the coming weeks and months, Harvey victims will need help navigating the red tape to getting federal aid, and Louisianans are coming to the rescue. CSRA was enlisted by the feds to establish a call center for helping disaster victims. Spokesperson Mimi Hedgcock says 500 of those call agents will be based in Bossier City. A $95 million grant will fund the temporary call center which will open early next week after the new agents receive the proper training.
The Governor’s Office is holding a statewide blood drive today amid a supply shortage following Hurricane Harvey. Tina Martinez with LifeShare Blood Centers says because of the hurricane’s destruction, many communities have not been able to donate blood to support the medical needs of local patients. Blood drive locations have been set up in all the major Louisiana cities, and donors can also go by any LifeShare location to donate.
Both of Louisiana’s US Senators voted to appropriate 15-billion dollars in disaster aid for victims of Harvey, which nearly doubles what President Donald Trump requested .
The vote was 80-17 in the Senate and now heads to the House for their approval.
High school students in Louisiana did not perform as well on the ACT compared to students in other states. The national average composite score was 21, while Louisiana averaged a 19.5. The Bayou State reportedly ranks 43rd in the country for ACT test scores.
A recent report finds LSU graduates have higher early- and mid-career earnings than graduates of other Louisiana universities. President F. King Alexander notes many of the universities below LSU on the list charge higher tuition and their students have more student debt. LSU grads have early career earnings of more than $52,000 and mid-career earnings of over $100,000.
Governor John Bel Edwards held another roundtable meeting yesterday, this time with business leaders and local officials in the Houma area to gather input on how the state can stabilize the budget for the long-term. Louisiana is facing a looming fiscal cliff, as a over a billion dollars in temporary taxes expire July 1st. Edwards says his meetings with stakeholders have been extremely productive.
Entergy is teaming up with Cleco to build a new transmission line in southeast Louisiana that can withstand winds up to 150 miles per hour. Cleco spokesperson Jennifer Cahill says this is an important project because customers want their power restored immediately after a storm. The project should be complete by fall of next year.
Louisiana Tech is gearing up for a big home game this Saturday as the Bulldogs will host Mississippi State from the SEC. The last time these two teams met in Ruston, Tech defeated State 22-14 in 2008. Coach Skip Holtz says hosting an SEC team is a great opportunity for their football team. You’ll be able to hear that game Saturday afternoon starting at 5 on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3
12th ranked LSU is coming off a dominating performance over BYU and will host Chattanooga Saturday evening at 6:30 in the home opener for the Tigers. You can hear that game on 970 KSYL and 96.9 KZMZ
News for Thursday 090717
By Dave Graichen
Major refineries in Texas are starting to come back online, and gas prices across the nation are finally starting to level off. Patrick Dehaan, Senior Petroleum Analyst with GasBuddy.com, says Louisiana saw a 16 cent increase over the last week. Today’s statewide average is $2.39.
A task force examining all aspects of the TOPS scholarship met for the first time Wednesday at the state capitol. Senate Education Chairman Blade Morrish says the purpose of today’s meeting was to get a general overview of the taxpayer funded scholarship program. The task force will issue a report in February.
Governor John Bel Edwards is urging Congress to clear a road block that has touched thousands of homeowners who flooded in Louisiana over the past year, and could also impact Texans as they recover from Hurricane Harvey. Currently, residents are blocked from using federal assistance money to pay off SBA loans that they take out after disasters. But Edwards says removing that restriction would provide badly needed relief for people rebuilding their lives.
Tomorrow the Louisiana Board of Ethics decides the fate of Thibodaux Representative Dee Richard, who gambled $37-thousand in campaign funds between 2012 and 2015. He says he was never a gambler before he started taking medication for Parkinson’s, and the drug was later linked to gambling addiction. He says he’s prepared to pay back the money, but he’d like to finish out the remaining two years of his last term.
The woman accused of shooting a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agent was sentenced to 20 years in prison on separate charges. Amethyst Baird of Monroe got 10 years for possession of stolen items and 10 more for a second methamphetamine possession charge. Baird is also accused of shooting LDWF Agent Tyler Wheeler five times during a traffic stop in January.
Many Louisianans have likely noticed a serious uptick in the amount of lovebugs we’re seeing. LSU-Shreveport Associate professor of Biological Sciences Beverly Burden says the relatively mild summer can be to blame for this. She says these last few months are wetter and cooler than we typically see this time of year. Burden says while the lovebugs are a major nuisance she expects the population to decline in the next 10 to 14 days.
Rural parishes in Louisiana are struggling more than major cities to combat the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. Linda Meredith is the research and development manager for the advocacy group HEROES. She says rural regions account for 15 percent of the HIV/AIDS cases in the state. Meredith adds the mortality rate is 1.6 times higher in northeast Louisiana than near major cities. Addressing the epidemic has been difficult because funding is tight, especially in the poorest corner of the state. Louisiana ranks first in the country for new HIV infections.
A third sperm whale has been found stranded off the Louisiana coast. State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist Mandy Tumlin says they are working to determine the cause of the increase in dead animals washing onto Louisiana beaches. She says an autopsy will soon be conducted on this mammal found beached on Grand Isle. This latest sperm whale is a female and is one of five of the endangered species found in the northern Gulf of Mexico over the past year.
News for Wednesday 090617
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office has arrested six suspects in a ring of burglaries in and near the Kellyland subdivision. The residential burglaries were reported over a period of several weeks. The suspects, juveniles thru 18 years of age, were located and arrested after RPSO personnel received a report of several people carrying flat-screen TVs in the area.
Alexandria City Marshall Terence Grines officially resigned from his job yesterday. The resignation comes on the heels of a criminal investigation where Grines faces a series of felony charges including malfeasance in office, two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance II with intent to distribute, resisting an officer with force or violence, and illegal carrying of a weapon.
He is set to be arraigned on Friday.
Alexandria police report a 25-year-old man was fatally shot Sunday evening in the city.
APD officers responded to a report of shots fired in the 1700 block of Beatrice Street at around 10 p.m. Sunday. They found the victim moaning but unresponsive.
He was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Hurricane Irma is a Category 5 storm moving through the Caribbean, but state climatologist Barry Keim says Irma should be Florida’s problem, not Louisiana’s. He says a cold front will move over the state today pushing the storm away. Keim says the storm certainly bears watching, because things can change, but for now Louisiana appears to be in the clear. He says the cold front will bring delightful conditions to the Bayou State that will last through the weekend.
The state department of children and family services is loading up Harvey survivors and sending them home to Texas, as the shelters in Shreveport and Alexandria are closing. Families are the first to head home, and there’s even space on the bus for small pets. Most of the storm victims are from the Orange, Texas area. The move to a shelter in Dallas should be completed Thursday.
State Officials got together yesterday to discuss Louisiana’s response plan should another storm hit us while Texas recovers from Hurricane Harvey. Mike Steele with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says we are still in the heart of hurricane season, and resources in Louisiana could be strained. He says as part of the exercise, state agencies and emergency managers were asked to take actions without support from Texas.
Tropical Depression number 13 has formed in the Bay of Campeche. It’s expected to become a tropical storm today, but only impact Mexico. Still, Mike Steele, with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, says we still need to be prepared.
The state department of corrections is exploring new safeguards to prevent work release inmates from escaping. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Adult Services, Perry Stagg, says they’re looking at a variety of options from more supervision to ankle bracelets. Stagg says the department has seen a decrease in inmates walking off their jobs in recent years, and this is an effort to continue that trend. In 2016, 70 of the more than 5,000 work release participants escaped.
The Lafayette Sheriff’s daughter and babysitter are safe and sound after the two went missing in a canoe overnight. John Mowell with the sheriff’s office says 21-year-old Juliana Brooks and 7-year-old Cora Garber were found near an oil well in the Lake Martin area after an all-night search.
UL-Lafayette’s petroleum engineering department was ranked seventh best in the nation and thirteenth in the world by CEOWORLD magazine. Department Head Dr. Fathi Boukadi says it’s an honor for the program to be ranked among the best in the world, and he hopes to continue to improve the department. Job placement was a key factor in the report, as UL students get lots of hands on experience.
Two Louisiana State Police troopers avoided suspension and received only minor discipline for taking an unauthorized "side trip" last year to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon while driving across the country to attend a law enforcement conference in California. In doing so, they charged taxpayers for thousands of dollars in overtime — as they traveled to San Diego for the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police conference.
News for Tuesday 090517
By Dave Graichen
According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, 12,000 more people are holding down jobs in the state compared to last year. LSU economist Loren Scott attributes the increase to an industrial boom in Lake Charles and Baton Rouge and improvements in the construction sector. Construction employment is at an all-time high in the state.
Hurricane Irma strengthened overnight but it isn't clear if the storm will threaten Florida. The storm's 145 mph winds are expected to lash the Leeward Islands, the U-S Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by Wednesday. Forecasters expect the storm to turn north at some point. Where that happens will determine if or where it hits the U-S mainland.
The state Department of Children and Family Services says they’ve decided to open a second mega-shelter for flood victims from Texas, this time in Shreveport. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says they’re also taking care of nearly 2000 Lone Star State residents in Alexandria.
I-10 is now open in both directions at the Texas state line, according to State Police. But some other roads remain closed due to flooding, and you can check 511la.org for an up-to-date map of closures around the state.
Louisiana has the fifth highest obesity rate in the country, according to a report from Trust for America’s Health. President and CEO John Auerbach says perhaps even more troubling is the finding that Louisiana ranks fourth in the country for childhood obesity of 10- to 17-year-olds, at 21 percent.
Relief efforts are ongoing amid the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey, and many are asking how they can help those affected. Chairman of the Board for the Greater Baton Rouge Red Cross, Desiree Lemoine says donating money is the easiest way to give because the Red Cross can buy in bulk. She says those who wish to donate can specify what they want their donation to go towards. To donate or volunteer, go online to RedCross.org.
A weekend boating incident in Cameron Parish took the life of a little boy. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents say 11-year-old Griffin LeBlanc and another 11-year-old boy were jumping off a boat on Lake Calcasieu when they jumped into the path of an oncoming vessel. LeBlanc’s body was recovered, and the other boy was taken to a hospital in serious condition.
The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary is seeking volunteers to clean up the 2.5 mile stretch of beach on Elmer’s Island later this month. Spokesperson Alma Robichaux says the event is in coordination with the international coastal cleanup that happens every September. To sign up, visit b-t-n-e-p.dot-org.
A Monroe-native is launching a new streaming TV network next month. Ro Wright says CONGO TV launches online on October 1. He says the network will be available through a variety of streaming options. Wright says he hopes to help local actors showcase their talent in feature films. He says the network will also feature local program based on where users log in, as well as original films and reality shows.
A Baton Rouge General Doctor is one of the first physicians in the country to perform a successful new stoke prevention procedure. Dr. Vince Weaver says this is a minimally invasive procedure that reverses the blood flow through the brain to divert blood clots and plaque away from the brain to prevent blockage and stroke. Three procedures have already been successful and several more are scheduled. Weaver says the previous procedure for high risk patients involved open surgery, which increases the risk of stroke and heart attack. He says this treatment option is significantly safer.
The 2017 season is off to a good start for the LSU Tigers. The Bayou Bengals blanked BYU 27-0 as the Tigers outgained the Cougars 479-to-97. It’s the first time the Tigers have shutout an opponent since 2014 and first opening game shutout since the 2007 national championship team. Coach O was a happy guy.
News for Friday 090117
By Dave Graichen
Nearly 900 disaster victims from Texas are taking shelter in Louisiana. That’s according to Governor John Bel Edwards, who says the state is prepared to take in 3,000 more of our neighbors, who can be housed at shelters in Lake Charles, here at the evac-center in Alexandria, and in Shreveport
Irma is now a category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic with winds up to 115 miles per hour. Forecasters say Irma will be a major hurricane by the time it reaches the Caribbean early next week. Governor Edwards says while we aren’t sure where the system will go, there is a chance it could head for the Bayou State.
The western half of Calcasieu Parish is under a voluntary evacuation as flooding from the Sabine River is possible. Tom Hoefer with the parish police jury says fewer than one thousand homes and camps are included in the evacuation. He says residents in the area have plenty of time to get out of their homes. The river is extremely swollen after the flood gates were opened at the Toledo Bend Reservoir.
The Department of Agriculture’s mobile pet shelter has been deployed in Lake Charles to help with pet evacuations. Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says they will do whatever they can to ensure pets are safe, while their owners are coping with the disaster. He says currently they have 86 pets in their care and they are preparing for an additional 500 pets in here in Alexandria. He says donations of dog and cat food are welcome. The department is providing 200 soft sided carriers for pets traveling by bus.
Prices at the pump jumped three cents overnight as storm-impacted refineries shut down in Texas. Don Redman with AAA says the statewide average is about $2.22 a gallon, up from $2.14 a week ago. Redman says prices could reach up to $2.40 a gallon in the coming weeks before the refineries reopen. But he says once they do, there’s an ample supply of gasoline for plants to distribute.
This weekend Louisiana hunters can enjoy a tax break on their guns and ammo during the 2nd Amendment sales tax holiday. Byron Henderson with the state department of revenue says eligible items will be fully exempt from local sales taxes and subject to only three percent of the state sales tax. The sales tax holiday runs this Friday through Sunday throughout the state.
The Cajun Navy is hard at work rescuing disaster victims in Texas, and the Cajun Gravy is making sure they are well fed. The Cajun Gravy is serving up Louisiana delicacies like jambalaya to first responders in Orange, Texas. The group consists of cooks from Baton Rouge, Gonzales, and Donaldsonville.
The original owners of the Hodges Garden State Park are taking back the 948-acre recreation area in Sabine Parish because the state department of tourism can’t afford to maintain the facility. The assistant secretary in charge of the state park system, Robert Braham, says the state is transferring Hodges back to the Hodges Foundation, effective the last day of September. The state took over the park in 2007. Barham says there have been issues with upkeep due to continued budget cuts for Louisiana’s state parks. He says in the last 10 years, the department has seen a 40 percent reduction in funding.
A team of 10 Baton Rouge area firefighters are heading to Port Arthur, Texas, to assist with the Harvey relief efforts, as the city is reportedly underwater. Task Force 2 consists of seven firefighters from Baton Rouge, two from Hammond, and one from Zachary. The team of trained rescuers will be in Texas for two weeks.
State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is urging Louisiana residents to purchase flood insurance as we’re seeing an uptick of historic flooding events. He says when congress reconvenes next month, he will push for significant changes to the National Flood Insurance Program.
The Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office says a high school teacher is under arrest in Jennings for allegedly having an improper relationship with a student. They say deputies received a complaint about 26-year-old Rachel Gillespie, and an investigation led detectives to request a warrant. She was booked for indecent behavior with a juvenile.
The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau is gearing up for a busy weekend as the LSU-BYU season opener takes at the Mercedes Benz Superdome at 8:30 p.m Saturday. Kristian Sonnier with the CVB says even though the game was relocated last minute due to Harvey, they are expecting a big crowd. He says the Decadence Festival will be underway at the same time. Sonnier expects about 50,000 people will be in the Crescent City for the game that they were not anticipating.
News for Thursday 083117
By Dave Graichen
No Public school Thursday in the following parishes.. Rapides Parish, Vernon Parish, LaSalle Parish & Beauregard Parish. Also closed, Catholic schools in Rapides and Natchitoches parishes. Classes are cancelled at LSUA, all campuses of NSU, Central Louisiana Technical College's Alexandria, Winnfield, Natchitoches, Many, Jena and Leesville campuses &The Learning Center for Rapides Parish.
Classes will resume today in Avoyelles Parish, St. Landry & Grant Parish public schools and at Louisiana College.
The Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s office is strongly advising residents on the western side of the parish to evacuate. That’s because the Sabine River Authority opened all of the flood gates at Toledo Bend Lake by one foot because of rising waters. The authority says they may continue to raise the gates in one-foot increments to provide a controlled release.
Harvey continues to move to the North East, out of the state. State Climatologist Barry Keim says fortunately Louisiana has been spared from much of the flooding seen in Texas. He says that’s because the system ingested dry air. Keim says the greatest rainfall total from Houston is nearly 52 inches, while the Bayou State has topped out at around 30 inches in extreme southwest Louisiana.
High water a problem on I-10. If you’re trying to get to Texas, be advised I-10 Westbound at milepost 4 near the Texas state line is closed due to flooding on the Texas side of the Sabine River.
Louisianans who want to help with the Harvey relief efforts both in Texas and Louisiana can find ways to give at VolunteerLouisiana.gov. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says thousands have already signed up to give their time and resources to those in need.
Members of the Louisiana National Guard continue to help with search and rescue efforts in Texas, as flood waters will not recede for some time. Col. Ed Bush says it’s a great feeling to be able to help our neighbors in need. Bush says hundreds of rescues have already been conducted, and many Texans are now in shelters in Lake Charles.
Calcasieu Parish survived Tropical Storm Harvey without any widespread flooding. Sheriff Tony Mancuso says the rural areas on the western side of the parish took on some water, but all things considered, it could have been much worse.
Harvey is finally moving out of Gulf Coast, but forecasters are now keeping an eye on a tropical disturbance near southern Mexico. Andy Tingler with the National Weather Service says there is a low chance this system could develop into a tropical depression or storm over the next five days. There is also Tropical Storm Irma, which is currently gaining strength in the Atlantic and is located off the western coast of Africa. Tingler says there’s a good chance Irma could develop into a hurricane over the next few days.
Congress will be tasked with reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program once lawmakers reconvene in September. This has become an even bigger priority as hundreds of thousands of homeowners cope with the flood waters left by Harvey. US Senator John Kennedy says the NFIP is the only option for homeowners to cover homes for flooding. He says the amount of flooding from substantial rainfall has doubled in the past decade. He says virtually no one in the country today is immune from flooding, no matter where you live.
New Orleans received minimal impacts from Harvey and the city is in good shape to host the LSU-BYU football game on Saturday. Ticket sales are underway for the LSU-BYU season opener at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Fans who purchased tickets for the game in Houston, season ticket holders and students have first priority. LSU Ticket Manager Brian Broussard says the general public can now buying tickets online through Ticketmaster. Ticket prices range from 40-dollars to 250-dollars
News for Wednesday 083017
By Dave Graichen
Public schools in Rapides Parish, Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Grant, Natchitoches, St. Landry and Vernon parishes will be closed Wednesday as tropical storm Harvey moves across the state. Also closed today Catholic schools in Rapides, Avoyelles and Natchitoches parishes, Alpine Christian School , Grace Christian School, University Academy, St. James Episcopal Day School, Montessori Educational Center & Alexandria Country Day School. Louisiana State University of Alexandria, Louisiana College, the Learning Center for Rapides Parish, Northwestern State University campuses and Central Louisiana Technical College's nine campuses are all closed.
Southwest Louisiana will likely see the biggest impact from Tropical Storm Harvey, but the entire state will be affected. In northwest Louisiana, a flash flood watch is in effect through Thursday evening. Lisa May with the National Weather Service in Shreveport expects periods of heavy rainfall through the end of the week. May says the area could also see gusty winds and isolated tornadoes as Harvey treks through the area.
Cleco is ready for Tropical Storm Harvey’s arrival in Louisiana as five of the energy company’s operational regions are in the path of the storm. Jennifer Cahill with Cleco says they are doubling the number of crews available to safely restore power if need be. She says Cleco is reminding customers to stay safe and beware of rising water and downed power lines.
Cameron Parish braced for impact yesterday as Tropical Storm Harvey prepared to make a second landfall and start it’s treks north through the state. Office of Emergency Preparedness Director Danny Lavergne says the biggest threat from the storm is the water, as the parish received about 30 inches of rain in just the last two days. Forecasters are saying the costal parish could see another 10 to 20 inches of rain before the storm moves through.
Governor John Bel Edwards says the Cajun Navy’s work in Texas is receiving praise from local authorities. So how do they do it? Penny Shar with Project We Care Louisiana works in conjunction with the Cajun Navy 2016 and she says they use the Zello Smartphone App to communicate with nearby boats to help find stranded residents. Shar says they will work closely with officials here at home to organize efforts rescue efforts as well.
The Cajun Navy is working hard to assist Texas authorities with ongoing search and rescues. While volunteers work to rescue people in Texas, the North Louisiana Red Cross is giving them a place to stay once they are safe. Executive Director Michelle Davidson says the shelter at Morning Star Baptist Church will house up to 250 individuals.
State Police is investigating the shooting of a Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s deputy. The suspect in the case was fatally shot. Authorities say a deputy was shot while conducting a traffic stop near Simsboro High School. His bullet proof vest deflected the bullet. The state police says the deputy returned fire, killing the suspect.
LSU says fans who bought tickets for the season opener against BYU in Houston will have their money refunded automatically. Athletic Director Joe Alleva says those who had tickets, will get first priority to purchase tickets for the game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, then LSU season ticket holders, students followed by the general public.
News for Tuesday 082917
By Dave Graichen
Harvey has strengthened as it moves over the Gulf along the Texas coast. John Cangialosi with the National Hurricane Center says the biggest concern is the continued rainfall over eastern Texas and western Louisiana with isolated totals reaching 50 inches in some areas. He encourages everyone to stay up to date on advisories issued in their areas.
Governor John Bel Edwards says the worst is yet to come in Louisiana with Tropical Storm Harvey. He says in southwest Louisiana, forecasters say 10-15 inches of additional rain could fall on already saturated grounds through Friday.
The National Guard has mobilized about 60 soldiers to Southwest Louisiana to assist with the possibility of flooding due to Tropical Storm Harvey. High water vehicles and boats are prepositioned in eight of the state’s western parishes.
The Cajun Navy is assisting with the flood response in Texas and additional resources are on the way. Penny Shar is with Project We Care Louisiana, she says about 100 people with boats and high water vehicles left from Baton Rouge, and more are leaving from Lafayette. Forty Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents are also in Texas assisting authorities with search and rescue efforts.
Several roads are under water in south Louisiana. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has told citizens in the Crescent City to stay home today and off the streets.
Three men from St. Tammany Parish are heroes. The had just arrived in Houston to help flood victims when they spotted an elderly woman face-down in the floodwaters brought by Tropical Storm Harvey. Joshua Lincoln said he and fellow "Cajun Navy" members Ricky Berrigan and Donnie Davenport were able to pull the woman, 73-year-old Wilma Ellis, into their boat and get her breathing again in relatively short order. They say it was a case of just being in the right place at the right time.
It’s official, LSU’s season opener against BYU will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Kickoff is set for 8:30, and the game will be televised by ESPN. Tickets and parking passes purchased through LSU’s ticket office will be automatically refunded tomorrow. The LSU ticket office will work to set up a purchasing structure for that event, and fans will be alerted when tickets are available. The game was moved from NRG Stadium in Houston because of epic flooding from Harvey.
Today marks 12 years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana, and Texans are facing a similar situation now with Harvey. State climatologist Barry Keim says both made landfall as a major hurricane, but Katrina reached Category 5 strength in the Gulf and weakened, while Harvey continued to strengthen until landfall. Keim says the biggest surge from Harvey so far is 6.8 feet, while Katrina caused the biggest surge ever measured in the western hemisphere at 28 feet. Keim says Harvey has been meandering around at about 2 miles per hour. He notes the storm has only moved about 100 miles since last Friday.
Today marks the 12 year anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina. Over 15-hundred people died in Louisiana from the powerful storm. But, former Governor Kathleen Blanco says it could’ve been a lot worse if they hadn’t of evacuate one million people from New Orleans. Some people decided not to leave. Many of them were casualties of the storm. She says so many Louisiana residents worked feverously to help each other during that difficult time. When asked about the situation in Houston, Blanco said she doesn’t understand why a city the size of Houston has no evacuation plan in place.
News for Monday 082817
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana is not out of the woods yet when it comes to Tropical Storm Harvey. Edwards asks residents to stay vigilant and pay attention to local news reports. State Climatologist Barry Keim says Harvey will eventually move towards Louisiana. Keim says rainfall from Harvey is Louisiana’s biggest threat.
Lake Charles could still see upwards of 12 inches of rain. Here in Central Louisiana 4 to 6 inches and New Orleans up to 8 inches are possible through the end of the week.
As Tropical Storm Harvey delivered a wallop Sunday to Louisiana’s neighbors in Texas, Louisianans remembered the many disasters that have struck home and Texans were always there to help. The Pelican State managed Sunday to avoid most of Harvey’s fury. But around Baton Rouge, Lafayette and other parts of the state, members of the Cajun Navy sprang into action to return the neighborly love. Many who spent last August wading around south Louisiana’s floodwaters in boats packed them up Sunday and headed west to help rescue Texans caught in the floods.
The FAA has announced Houston's Hobby Airport, a key piece of New Orleans' Louis Armstrong Airport and Southwest Airlines' travel schedules, is closed until Wednesday morning at the earliest. Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, which files to both New Orleans and Baton Rouge's airports, is also closed. The FAA expects that airport might reopen today.
With Louisiana in a state of emergency due to Harvey, the Attorney General’s Office warns consumers to be wary of price gouging. Deputy Director of Public Protection Mike Dupree says once the governor declares a state of emergency, price gouging laws go into effect. Dupree says that does not include price changes like a few cents increase for a gallon of gas, which could go up due to the market. But he says if the price of emergency supplies spikes overnight, consumers should be suspicious. He encourages anyone who suspects a business of price gouging to report it immediately.
The Shreveport City Council will soon consider a proposal to construct a 30-million dollar sports complex in the downtown area. The goal of the complex, which would be right next to a proposed mixed use development site, is to lure the New Orleans Pelicans G-League team to the arena. Local banker Rich Holland says different entities are now gathering their plans for presentation. There is also talk of the facility being used as a practice facility for the New Orleans Saints.
For the second straight preseason game, the Saints defense did not allow an offensive touchdown. The Saints held the Texans to 246 total yards and 13 first downs in a 13-0 victory over Houston on Saturday night.
LSU is scheduled to play BYU this Saturday, but athletic director Joe Alleva doubts it can be played in Houston. Alleva says a number of alternate locations are being considered and a decision should be made early this week.
News for Friday 082517
By Dave Graichen
Hurricane Harvey is expected to reach Category 3 strength by the time the storm makes landfall in Texas. Eric Blake with the National Hurricane Center says the storm isn’t expected to move far inland, as it makes landfall early Saturday morning. Models show Harvey moving east towards Louisiana after making landfall, and Governor John Bel Edwards has already declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the storm. Extensive rainfall is expected, and the governor says citizens should prepare now.
Edwards says the biggest concern is in southwest Louisiana, but the entire state could see high rainfall totals.
More jobs are coming to Union Parish, as Foster Farms announces a $30 million expansion that will result in 50 new direct jobs and 42 indirect jobs. Farmerville Mayor Stein Baughman says this is huge for the parish. The poultry processing facility will also maintain over 1,000 existing jobs.
A southwest Louisiana mother of four is now a millionaire after winning $2 million in the Powerball. The woman works as an assistant manager at the Tiger Mart in Lake Arthur. Store manager April Lemaire says if anyone deserves to win, it’s her. The Tiger Mart will receive a bonus of 20-thousand dollars for selling the ticket. Lemaire says the assistant manager plans to keep working at the convenience store.
The state Department of Education announces a new program has launched that would let experienced teachers statewide get training to become mentors to aspiring educators. They say beginning in the fall and over the next three years, Louisiana will establish at least 2,500 professionals equipped with the necessary skills to help guide a new generation of teachers.
Louisiana is home to the third worse drivers in the nation, according to a report by SmartAsset. Vice President of Financial Education AJ Smith says they looked at vehicle fatalities, insurance rates, and Google searches to determine the rankings. She says the Bayou State did not fare well in any of those categories. Smith says at 86 percent, Louisiana has the 16th lowest rate of insured drivers in the country. Florida and Mississippi were the only states that had worse drivers than Louisiana.
Louisiana customers who use Walmart to conduct money transfers can use a new feature called Express Money Services. The company says instead of filling out paperwork at the store, you can enter the information into the Walmart app. Customers will use a dedicated Express Lane at the store to complete the transaction.
A third relative has been arrested in Webster Parish in the bizarre case of a seven-year-old who shot his aunt twice. The child’s grandmother, 64-year-old Cheryl Lee of Shreveport was booked on obstruction of justice as she allegedly tried to cover up the shooting. The boy’s mother and grandfather are also facing charges.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office has ruled the death of a 53-year-old man whose body was found in the backyard of a home in an overgrown area, as a homicide. They say Dale Sands had been reported missing by the Sheriff’s Office, and officials say he was shot in the chest and head. Investigators have not yet established a motive or suspect.
The Saints are set to the play the Texans in exhibition game number three. Quarterback Drew Brees is expected to get his first action of the preseason and he’s excited to finally play in a game. Veteran running back Adrian Peterson is expected to make his preseason debut as well. Brees says he’s been impressed with the future Hall of Famer during camp.
News for Thursday 082417
By Dave Graichen
Keeping an eye on Harvey.. Now a tropical storm.. State Climatologist Barry Keim says this system will likely be more of a rainmaker for most of Louisiana, but areas across the coast are looking at more complicated circumstances. Keim says Harvey should make landfall around the central-Texas coast sometime Friday evening. He says once that happens, the system is expected to turn eastward, and slow down. There’s the potential that over 20 inches of rain, with Houston/Galveston being ground zero. Keim says once the storm stalls, it could sit there for a couple of days.
Most of the schools in the Rapides Parish School District are eligible now to participate in a federal program that allows schools to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students. The Community Eligibility Program helps individual schools or entire districts in some cases to feed every student for free without families submitting an application for free or reduced meals. All but 16 of the 49 Rapides Parish schools qualify to participate in the program.
The Pineville PD reports the Dollar General on Main Street in Pineville was held up at gunpoint yesterday afternoon about 5 p.m. Employees told investigators that the unidentified suspect entered the store brandishing a firearm and demanding money from the cash register. They complied. Police are asking anyone with information to please contact them. The robber was described as a black male wearing blue shorts and a dark-colored hoodie. He was last seen running along the railroad tracks on Main Street in the direction of Melrose.
67 year old Walter Smith Sr. of Pineville turned himself into Tuesday following an investigation into complaints about home improvement fraud. Smith was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on five counts of home improvement fraud greater than $1,500. He later was released on a $15,000 bond.
Twenty-five years ago today one of the most destructive hurricanes in U.S. history made landfall in Florida and then crossed the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall near Morgan City. Andrew slammed into Louisiana on August 26th, 1992. It left extensive damage in its wake in St. Mary and Iberia Parishes and across a good portion of south Louisiana. Private property damage was estimated at one billion dollars.
LSU quarterback Danny Etling is excited about being named the starter when the Tigers hit the field September 2nd against BYU in Houston.
Confederate monuments should be replaced with statues of Britney Spears according to a Louisiana woman who has thousands of people that agree with her. Rayne native and petition creator, Kassie Thibodeaux, says the Change.org petition has over 4500 signatures and she hopes the governor notices.
A 38-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting an elderly man in Opelousas in a road rage incident. Police Chief Donald Thompson says they arrested Joshua Babineaux this morning after the public recognized him from surveillance video released to the media. Babineaux is charged with aggravated second degree battery and simple battery of the infirm.
Baton Rouge Police are looking for a man from Ponchatoula accused of shooting and killing a 19-year-old woman. They say 20-year-old James Seymore is believed to have been playing with a hand gun in the back of a vehicle when it accidentally fired striking the victim, Briana Hornsby while she was driving. Seymore fled on foot and remains at large. Hornsby died from her injuries.
Southern Lab High School will have to vacate its 2016 and 2015 state championship football titles, plus its runner-up trophy in 2014 after it was learned the Baton Rouge school violated the LHSAA’s recruiting rules. The school has been banned from postseason play for the next two years and their head coach has been fired and suspended by the LHSAA for one year.
St. Martinville hopes to become “The Pepper City of the World.” Mayor Pro Tem Mike Fuselier says they will ask the state legislature to pass a resolution giving them the prestigious title. He says for nearly a century, St. Martinville has had a pepper industry, like Pepper’s Unlimited. St. Martinville is also known for the company Cajun Chef, which produces 250 different products. Fuselier says they also have been home to a pepper festival for the last 26 years. He says the town is a big tourist attraction and adding this title will only boost visitors.
News for Wednesday 082317
By Dave Graichen
A Leesville man was killed in a two vehicle accident yesterday morning east of Pitkin on LA 10. State police report 54 Year old Timothy Philips was killed when he pulled out into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Philips, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle during the crash. A passenger in Philip’s vehicle was reported to have minor injuries.
People all over Louisiana are rushing to get a Powerball ticket as tonight’s jackpot has reached 700-million dollars, with a cash value of 443 million dollars. Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kim Chopin says now that the jackpot is so high, many offices and friends join together to buy a pool of tickets for a better chance to win the prize. She says it’s a good idea to make sure one person is in charge of the tickets. Preferably someone you trust.
Governor John Bel Edwards says state officials are monitoring the disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico named Harvey, and GOHSEP is setting up their crisis action team today. He says the storm could hit Southeast Texas sometime Friday as a Category 1 hurricane, so Southwest Louisiana should be on alert.
A 38-year-old Ruston man has been arrested for allegedly fatally shooting the mother of his children and injuring another woman and a one-year-old. Authorities say Frank Stringfellow is charged with one count of first degree murder. The 54-year-old injured woman and the baby are expected to survive.
Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton says a 7-year-old boy who shot his aunt two times for not feeding him will not be charged with a crime. He says police responded to a home outside of Minden last week and found Amanda Gipson suffering from two gunshot wounds. She claimed it was an accident, but Sexton isn’t buying that. He says the child can’t be charged due to his age. Sexton says this was not an accident and he hopes this 7-year-old gets help.
President Donald Trump stated Monday night that America must fight to win the war in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops have been stationed since 2001. Louisiana GOP Chairman Roger Villere says the United States should’ve never been in this war but he agrees with the president’s sentiments. The president did not say how many additional troops he would send into Afghanistan and seemed to agree with the Pentagon’s suggestion for sending in about 4-thousand soldiers. Villere says it’s time to fix this mess and end the war in Afghanistan.
LSU’s new mascot, Mike VII, appears to be right at home and loving his new habitat on campus since being introduced Monday. Formerly Harvey, the tiger was donated to LSU by the Wild at Heart Wildlife Center in Okeechobee, Florida. Jeremy Hargett is the co-owner of the rescue facility. He says when they re-home big animals like Mike, they pray that they end up in a good, thriving situation. He says now that Harvey has a new home in Baton Rouge surrounded by love and LSU fans, they aren’t worried about him one bit.
News for Tuesday 082217
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria City Marshal Terence Grines is not expected to appear in court Thursday for his arraignment, pending the results of a pre-sentencing investigation requested by the court. However, he is still expected to resign from his job this week as part of a plea deal. Grines was arrested June 23 after a multi-jurisdictional drug investigation.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Metairie is telling his colleagues that he will wait until his doctors give him the okay, before he returns to the Capitol. A spokesperson for the Republican lawmaker says Scalise was on a conference call with GOP legislators today to discuss spending bills. Scalise was shot in June in the hip and is undergoing inpatient rehabilitation, after undergoing several surgeries.
A report by Caring.com finds Louisiana is the 32nd best state to grow old. Caring.com Vice President Tim Sullivan says Louisiana did not rank anywhere close to the top 10, because of the quality of life in senior care facilities. The study incorporated statistics on senior living community reviews, nursing home costs, in-home care prices and elderly well-being assessments. In case you’re wondering, the report found Utah is the best state to grow old.
Today Governor John Bel Edwards is slated to meet with new FEMA Administrator Brock Long. The governor’s communications director Richard Carbo says Edwards would like to discuss how local, state, and federal authorities can partner to prepare the city of New Orleans for another devastating flood. Of course last year’s flood will also be an issue for the two to discuss. During the floods of 2016, 56 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes were declared federal disaster areas. FEMA was on hand to help with emergency response and the rebuilding.
The Department of Children and Family Services announces over half a million dollars of child support payments have been paid through MoneyGram in the first six months of the year. Child Support Enforcement Director Lydia Scales says they’ve seen an increase in participation after allowing electronic payments. She says it’s made it easier for noncustodial parents, who do not have bank accounts, to pay their child support, because they can now make payments in cash. Payments for the first six months of the year totaled more than $530,000.
A 20-million dollar annual federal grant has been awarded to the state Department of Education to help struggling public schools. Educations officials say schools over the next few weeks will apply for the money and those with the best plans for progress will receive the funds. A struggling school is defined as a school that earned a performance rating of a D or an F for the last three years and currently 225 schools in Louisiana fit this description.
Michael Tyler, better known as Louisiana rapper Mystikal, has turned himself into authorities in Caddo Parish after a warrant for his arrest was issued. Sgt. Paula Farquhar (far-kwar) with the Shreveport Police Department says Tyler along with a 26-year-old Texas man have been charged with first degree rape. Authorities are still searching for 42-year-old Tenichia Wafford, of Texas, who is charged with one count of Accessory after the fact to first degree rape for allegedly trying to convince the victim to drop the charges against the rapper.
Shreveport Representative Thomas Carmody will not bring back a bill seeking to protect Confederate monuments. Carmody attempted to pass a proposed law during the last legislative session to require a public vote, before a military monument could be taken down. It passed the House, but died in a Senate committee. Four Confederate monuments have been removed in New Orleans, but there are still ones standing in Shreveport, Lafayette, Tallulah and here in Alexandria.
Big day on the LSU campus Monday, as classes started and a new live mascot is wandering around in his habitat. The 11-month-old male tiger arrived last week in Baton Rouge and was confined to his night house until his debut yesterday.
There were no winners of Saturday night’s Powerball jackpot drawing, and the big prize now goes to $650 million dollars. The cash value of the Wednesday jackpot is $411.7
An announcement could come as early today as on who will be the Tigers starting quarterback for the season opener against BYU. Senior Danny Etling is expected to get the nod, but offensive coordinator Matt Canada likes what he’s seen from freshman Myles Brennan.
News for Monday 082117
By Dave Graichen
Millions of Americans are getting ready to watch today’s total solar eclipse. LSU astronomy professor Michael Cherry says this is the first time since 1979 a solar eclipse has been visible from the US. He says the total eclipse will be visible in a path about 70 miles wide from Oregon to South Carolina. Cherry says most of Louisiana will see about 80 percent of the sun blocked during the eclipse. He says the best time to view it will be between 1 and 2 p.m.
The Louisiana SPCA advises pet owners to bring their fur babies inside during today’s solar eclipse. Pets don’t normally stare at the sun, but just to be on the safe side, best to leave them indoors. Experts recommend bringing them in 30 minutes before the eclipse begins, and waiting until 30 minutes after it ends to let them back out.
The first ever live broadcast of a solar eclipse from a high-altitude balloon will take place in Illinois by the Louisiana Space Grant Consortium, a NASA based program of LSU students. Professor and Associate Chair of the LSU Physics and Astronomy Department Dr. Dana Browne says by hanging an HD video camera underneath a weather balloon, they will be able to see the shadow of the moon crossing over the earth’s surface. Browne says the video will be sent from the balloon to the ground station through a wireless transmitter and then live streamed.
Louisianan’s unemployment rate is falling. According to the AP, the jobless rate dipped to 5.3 percent in June from 6.2 percent a year ago. One hundred ten thousand people in Louisiana are unemployed, down from 115,000 in July. The Bayou State’s unemployment rate is still the third highest in the country.
It’s expected there will be a big need for industrial plant workers in Baton Rouge through 2018. Greater Baton Rouge Industrial Alliance Executive Director Connie Fabre says the demand for skilled employees will be so high because of all the new facilities that will be coming online over the next couple of years. Fabre says industrial crafts in most demand are things like pipe fitting, welding and electrical and instrument technicians…:
The 96th Cadet Class began the Louisiana State Police Training Academy on Sunday. For about 20 weeks, thirty-six men and women from a variety of backgrounds will undergo an intensive training regimen. Sgt. Jared Sandifer says after graduating, the new troopers will participate in a 10 to 14 week field training program.
Voter registration week begins today, and Secretary of State Tom Schedler is encouraging citizens to take part. He says new voters and those who have just moved back into the state should register. Louisiana will be electing a state treasurer this fall as well as hosting many local elections, propositions and constitutional amendments on the ballot. Schedler says you can register online at sos.la.gov
No more confederate statues will come down in New Orleans, according to Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Landrieu says taking down the statues of Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, and Jefferson Davis were the right thing to do but removing Andrew Jackson is a step too far. Landrieu says the Andrew Jackson statue was put in place for all the right reasons.
The state department of transportation has redesigned the concrete walls on new interstate projects. Secretary Shawn Wilson says two inch tall openings will be put in the walls every so many feet to allow water to flow though. Three projects currently underway will feature the new design.
The homeowner assistance program for flood victims has been expanded by the Restore Louisiana Task Force. Office of Community Development executive director Pat Forbes says this means all homeowners impacted by the flood now qualify for assistance. Members of the board approved the changes recommended by Governor John Bel Edwards without objection.
The Saints defense flexed its muscles last night in 13-7 victory over LA Chargers in Week 2 of the Preseason. Quarterback Drew Brees, defensive end Cameron Jordan and running backs Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson did not play Sunday night, marking the second straight game.
News for Wednesday 081617
By Dave Graichen
A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agent who was shot in the line of duty in Morehouse Parish has returned to work. 25-year-old Tyler Wheeler of Monroe was shot four times while conducting a traffic stop in January. 31-year-old Amethyst Baird and 34-year-old Jeremy Gullette have been charged in the shooting and are awaiting trial. Tuesday was Wheeler’s first day back on patrol duties
The BESE board meets behind closed doors today to discuss the job status of state Education Superintendent John White. Board member Kathy Edmonston of Gonzales says she would like the entire panel to vote to whether or not White stays in the position he’s held since 2012. White makes 270-thousand dollars a year and works month to month, as the board has yet to extend his contract.
A new report by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network finds Louisiana along with 11 other Southern states are slacking when it comes to implementing policies to reduce and prevent tobacco use. The report finds over 24-thousand people in Louisiana will be diagnosed with cancer this year and over 9-thousand will die from it.
A man has been charged in a double homicide after calling the cops on himself. Maj. Steven Williams with the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office says John Nichols fatally shot Anthony and Rachel Denicola outside their home. He says two juveniles were inside the residence at the time. Nichols called police after the incident to report the shooting.
Governor John Bel Edwards once again met Attorney General Jeff Landry in a court room, as the battle continues over an anti-discrimination executive order. Edwards issued the order in April to protect the LGBT community from workplace discrimination in state offices. A judge ruled the order is unconstitutional, but Edwards appealed the ruling. An appeals court heard arguments yesterday. No word on when a decision may be rendered by the court.
39 year old Raven Desoto was I’d as a suspect in an Aug. 8 the burglary of a Kolin home. Authorities didn’t have to go far to arrest her, she was already in jail on unrelated charges. She was rebooked on charges of criminal trespassing, criminal damage of less than $500 and burglary of an inhabited dwelling.
After peaking over the last couple of weeks, gasoline prices appear to be leveling off, according Patrick DeHaan with GasBuddy. DeHaan expects gas prices may level off for the next few weeks before they really start to drop in mid- to late-September. Louisiana has the ninth lowest gas prices in the country with a statewide average of $2.16 a gallon.
The ACLU of Louisiana has sent a letter to Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves after a man was ticketed for flipping off a state trooper on I-20 near Rayville. Executive Director Marjorie Esman says the man was charged with felony public intimidation. Esman says as rude as it may be, giving someone the finger is a First Amendment right. The charge was dismissed by the state attorney who reviewed the case.
Two arrests have been made in the case of a 22-year-old Houston man who was brought to Louisiana to die. Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso said Dustin Hammons was last seen with the two suspects, 22-year-old Ashlyn Brown and 45-year-old Boyd “Lurch” Hagood, both of Baytown, Texas. The two are charged with second degree murder. Police are saying the incident was drug related.
The Humane Society of Louisiana is looking for answers after a three-legged dog was shot and killed in Acadia Parish. Director Jeff Dorson says it takes a sick person to take the life of a little three-legged dog who means so much to his family. A $500 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.
A study out of Harvard Medical School and the University of California finds about 55-percent of people say they are faced with unpleasant and potentially hazardous conditions at work. University of New Orleans Business Professor Mark Rosa says less educated individuals typically face tougher workplace conditions. He says nowadays, to get paid a decent wage, you need a college education.
Saints coach Sean Payton said of the rumors that the team was planning to trade Delvin Breaux, that he would never comment on that kind business. But added it’s normal to discuss players or possible trades during training camp.
Just a day after announcing his departure from LSU, quarterback Lindsey Scott already has a spot on another team. The Zachary High star signed with East Mississippi Community College Tuesday. EMCC has won three junior college national championships under Coach Buddy Stephens.
The New Orleans Pelicans schedule is out and they are slated to play the Warriors and Cavs in their first two home games of the season. The Pels start their season on October 18th on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies, then make their Smoothie King Center debut for 2017-2018 against the NBA Champ Golden State.
News for Tuesday 081517
By Dave Graichen
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy is still optimistic the Senate can pass a health care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Cassidy, along with Senators Lindsey Graham and Dean Heller have constructed a measure, which Cassidy says is the only instrument the Republicans have left. He says their solution is to give the power to the states by giving them federal health care dollars through a federal block grant.
Cassidy says right now we have a system that is not working and is not sustainable.
Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham said in an interview with the Fox network that he does not stand by any of the comments made by David Duke who was on hand at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Fellow Republican Congressman Tom Garrett of Virginia blamed the violence on outsiders from states like Louisiana, like Duke. Abraham said he’s offended by the comment and that the former KKK grand wizard does not speak for Louisiana.
Members of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation and the governor toured Denham Springs with HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson Monday, and praised him for efforts in cutting red tape during flood recovery. Carson says he is very pleased and impressed with the progress south Louisiana has made since last August. Although he says the money allocated will be well spent for flood recovery, Carson acknowledges regulations could be improved.
LSU has announced that fans will have to wait a little longer to take pictures and get autographs from their favorite players and coaches, as the annual Fan Day has been moved to the spring. Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette said there are many construction projects taking place on campus which just didn’t make Fan Day feasible this fall.
An audit of the state’s foster care program revealed that understaffing has led to increased caseloads for workers at the department of children and family services. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says they lost 2,000 workers in the Jindal Administration, which left workers with an average of 16 cases at a time. Karen Leblanc with the legislative auditor’s office says they found not all foster care providers had the required criminal background checks. They either had no check, or they were not completed in a timely manner.
The American Duchess paddle wheeler made her maiden voyage up the Mississippi River Monday, leaving out of the Port of New Orleans and making stops at historic sites and attractions. Port of New Orleans spokesperson Donnell Jackson says it’s a 166-guest ship offering inland cruises. This is the third vessel in the American Queen Steamboat Company’s fleet.
Cable barrier installation is set to begin this week in Caddo and Desoto Parishes along I-49, according to the state department of transportation. Erin Buchanan with DOTD says this is one of the larger cable barrier projects in the district with a total 41 miles to be installed. Most of that will be in Desoto Parish
News for Friday 081117
By Dave Graichen
State Police report a single vehicle crash killed a woman from Trout yesterday morning. Troopers say a pickup, driven by 47 year old Christie Kilgore, was westbound on LA Hwy 500 when Kilgore lost control and exited the left side of the roadway. After exiting the roadway, the vehicle collided with a tree. Kilgore, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.
State Police is investigating a fatal ATV crash in Avoyelles Parish that claimed the life of a man, and injured two young children. They believe 30-year-old Jeremy Armand of St. Martinville crossed into an oncoming lane of traffic on a roadway, and collided head on with a van traveling in the other direction. Armand died, and an 8-year-old and three-year-old on the ATV were injured. None of those on the ATV were wearing helmets.
One year ago today, torrential rains began pouring down on south Louisiana. By the time the rain stopped ten days later, 20 parishes had been declared federal disaster areas, and 13 people lost their lives. Livingston Parish was one of the most devastated, with 75 percent of the homes deemed a total loss. Parish President Layton Ricks says the parish is making a good comeback.
Louisiana has moved up two spots to number two in Insure-dot-com’s ranking of states with the most expensive auto insurance rates. The website says Louisiana drivers average annual rate is 19-hundred dollars, 46-percent higher than the national average. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says an excessive amount of litigation is one big factor.
The Department of Transportation has found a contractor to widen Interstate 10 from Highland Road in Baton Rouge to LA 73 in Ascension Parish. It will take around two and a half years to widen the interstate by one lane in each direction. The $72 million project is being funded through a combination of state and federal funds.
A man is behind bars in connection with the death of a Tennessee truck driver who was killed in an armed robbery on Tuesday morning. Baton Rouge Police Sgt. L’Jean McKneely says this wasn’t 18-year-old Landry Carter’s first robbery. Carter is charged with four counts of armed robbery and one count of first degree murder.
More flooding is a possibility in New Orleans, as a turbine at a pumping station caught fire last night and heavy rains are in the forecast. Governor John Bel Edwards has signed an emergency declaration for Orleans Parish.
3rd district Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins is glad President Donald Trump is taking a stand against continued threats from North Korea. Higgins says previous administrations have dealt with aggression from North Korea with a, “kick the can down the road” mentality, but it’s about time to get serious. Higgins believes Mr. Trump is carefully targeting exactly what would needed to hit, and hit hard.
In Livingston Parish, Walker Police are looking for eyewitnesses who saw a 26-year-old woman jump out of a moving pickup truck Wednesday night as it was traveling on an I-12 entrance ramp. Captain John Sharp says 26-year-old Whitney Cotton is in critical condition. Foul play however is not suspected.
An Acadiana High School student is in trouble with the law and the school he attends after he allegedly repeatedly punched a school safety officer. Police say 17-year-old Robert Hebert of Duson got in trouble in the first place, because his hair was dyed red and in violation of the school’s dress code.
As Louisianans gear up to watch the upcoming solar eclipse, doctors remind the public to do so safely. On August 21, a total solar eclipse will pass over the country from Oregon to South Carolina. Executive Director of the Optometry Association of Louisiana Dr. James Sandifer says in Louisiana, only a partial eclipse will be visible, which is why it’s so important for viewers to protect their eyes. Sandifer says the only safe way to view the partial eclipse is with approved eclipse glasses. He says looking directly at the sun can damage or destroy the photoreceptors in the retina. He says that can cause permanent damage to the eye.
The Saints lost their season opener to the Cleveland Browns last night.. the final 20 to 14.
Former LSU Coach Les Miles says he’ll be a member of the media this football season. The mad hatter’s first assignment is with the SEC Network as he’ll serve as a guest analyst on SEC Nation, which will be in Arlington, Texas on September 2nd for the Michigan-Florida game.
LSU’s Kevin Toliver is the likely starting cornerback opposite of Donte Jackson. Coming out of high school in Jacksonville, Florida, Toliver was considered as one of the nation’s top corner prospects. In two seasons at LSU, Toliver has one interception and missed the final four games of last season due to a shoulder injury. Toliver says he’s ready to be an impact player this season.
News for Thursday 081017
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria City Marshal Terence Grines faces arraignment date Aug. 24 on a felony malfeasance in office charge. Grines was arrested on June 23rd outside the Alexandria City Court complex after a multi-jurisdictional investigation. In addition to the malfeasance charge, Grines was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance II with intent to distribute, resisting an officer with force or violence and illegal carrying of a weapon.
NOAA now says there is a 60 percent chance of an above-normal Atlantic Hurricane season, up from May’s prediction of 45 percent. NOAA lead hurricane season forecaster Gerry Bell says wind patterns are conducive for storm development and sea surface temperatures are well above normal. The prediction now calls for 14-19 named storms.
State officials are starting the conversation about how to address the looming fiscal cliff in 2018 when more than a billion dollars in temporary taxes expire. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne has been spreading the word at meetings around the state to bring the issue to the public’s attention. He says if lawmakers decided against replacing the $1.3 billion in revenue that is set to go away in July, the administration would be forced to reduce funding by 20 percent for every area of state government. He says that would be drastic for higher education, healthcare, prisons, and public schools.
Despite a slight decrease in revenue, the Louisiana Lottery reported its third best year ever. Lottery spokesperson Dustin Annison says the corporation brought in nearly $455 million in revenue for the 2017 fiscal year. This year, the lottery saw a $53 million decline in revenue from the previous year. But still, the Louisiana Lottery transferred nearly $160 million to the state treasury this year for public education.
The search continues for the gunman who fatally shot a Tennessee truck driver during a robbery as the victim was changing a tire in a parking lot on Tuesday morning. Sgt. Don Coppola says 49-year-old Keith Odom was shot after he turned over his possessions to the robber. Odom died at a local hospital.
Bossier Parish authorities say three 18-wheelers collided with each other on Highway Two near Plain Dealing Wednesday morning. Deputies say it appears the first 18-wheeler stopped for another vehicle and the other two trucks hit the first one from behind. The truck drivers suffered only minor injuries.
School is back many students, which means school buses are returning to the road. State Farm spokesperson Kip Diggs reminds drivers it is never safe to pass a stopped school bus. Louisiana law requires vehicles to stop 30 feet away when children are getting on or off the bus.
Louisiana’s public schools performed only slightly better on ACT scores compared to last year, but with an average of 19.6 — that’s up from 19.1 since 2013.But, still below the national average. State Superintendent of Education John White says African Americans did better statewide, scoring an average of 17.5 this year. The number of students who qualify for TOPS also grew at every level of the award this year.
Louisiana parents of autistic children have a new resource after the Baton Rouge Area Foundation helped to launch a website full of information about benefits and resources. Director of civic leadership initiatives Lauren Jumonville says they hope to help point parents in the right direction. Jumonville says they went around the state cataloging all the resources that exist for people with disabilities. She says the website La.ExceptionalLives.org offers a variety of resources, including traditional ones like physicians and therapists, as well as others.
South Louisiana authorities are still looking for Lafayette businessman Lawrence Michael Handely, who is wanted in the kidnapping of a woman. Detectives believe two men who drowned when evading West Baton Rouge Parish Deputies were involved in the crime. How all of this connects remains unknown at this time. The Lafayette Police Department has only said that the woman’s abduction stemmed from an ongoing domestic dispute” between her and Handley.
A Lafayette Parish grand jury has indicted a man with murder in connection with the death of Jacqueline “Daisy Lynn” Landry. 22-year-old Malik Davis is accused of second degree murder. Family members and friends still cannot find Daisy Lynn since she was last seen in May. Little else is known about this case, including Davis’ involvement and what may have happened that lead to the murder charge and indictment.
A federal judge has blocked a current state law saying foreign born applicants can’t obtain a marriage license without a birth certificate. A Lafayette man who was born in an Indonesian refugee camp and doesn’t have a birth certificate filed a suit, because he’s unable to marry his fiancée.
The NCAA says Grambling State will not have to vacate its 2011 SWAC Football Championship. An internal investigation determined Grambling’s athletic program used ineligible players in eleven sports from 2010 to 2015, but it has determined that the 2011 championship team didn’t use ineligible players so the title will not be vacated. Grambling went 8-4 that season and beat Alabama A-and-M in the championship game.
News for Wednesday 080917
By Dave Graichen
This school year, some Louisiana teachers will face evaluations that are tied, in part, to student test scores. A poor rating could cost teachers their tenure and even their job. Brigitte Neiland with the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry says the principal will determine which teachers remain in the classroom. About 15,000 of the state’s 50,000 educators will be reviewed by the Value Added Model.
The controversy over how the pumps operated in the city of New Orleans during the weekend flooding event is not over. The city council called a meeting just before Sewerage & Water Board Executive Director Cedric Grant announced his retirement saying he’d learned his staff hadn’t been honest about the event. The board originally said 7 pumps were out of service the night of the storm, but then came back and said 14, including 8 drainage pumps, were not working.
Mandeville Police have arrested a 25-year-old man accused of brutally raping a 53-year-old woman inside her home. Chief Gerald Sticker says they were able to catch up with Ronald Moore Jr. of Lacombe at his home after releasing to the media a photo of him on surveillance video.
West Baton authorities say they are certain the two bodies recovered from the Intracoastal Canal Monday are the suspects wanted in a Lafayette kidnapping. The Sheriff’s department announced yesterday the two males were speeding down the shoulder of I-10 when the interstate was closed. After a chase, their van got stuck, and the two fled on foot, apparently drowning in the canal.
A man in Caddo Parish has been charged with cruelty to animals after allegedly fatally shooting his neighbor’s dachshund, because he thought it was an alligator. Caddo Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Bobby Herring says the dog was found in the pond with multiple gunshot wounds. Tommy Collinsworth Jr told cops he thought the dog was an alligator.
The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Coastwide Nutria Control Program is looking for south Louisiana landowners and hunters to help combat the invasive rodent. LDWF Biologist Catherine Normand says these pests can cause serious damage to an already vulnerable coast. Normand says the goal is to reduce Nutria induced marsh damage by removing about 400-thousand rodents per season.
Livingston Parish students and teachers are looking forward to a year of normalcy as they begin classes today just days ahead of the one year anniversary of the August flood. School superintendent Rick Wentzel says crews worked extensively on 8 flood damaged campuses throughout the summer. Three of those are complete, but five in the Denham Springs area will not be fully rebuilt for some time.
Contract details are out for new LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade. His six year deal will pay him 15 million dollars, that’s two-point-five million a season. The 34-year-old will be one of the highest paid basketball coaches in the SEC. Wade is also eligible for bonuses based on performance on the hardwood and in the classroom. The contract also does not include a buyout.
The Saints did not practice yesterday as they are two days away from the preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns. But a depth chart has been released. Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram are listed as co-starters at running back. It’s unclear how much they’ll play against the Browns, along with quarterback Drew Brees.
LSU Senior Quarterback Danny Etling likes the progress the Tigers are making during preseason camp. The Bayou Bengals are in training camp mode for the rest of this week and next and then school starts on Monday August 21st. Etling says the goal is to get better every day.
News for Tuesday 080817
By Dave Graichen
Today Governor John Bel Edwards is holding a meeting with business and industry leaders to devise a plan for addressing a looming $1.3 billion fiscal cliff when temporary taxes expire in 2018. Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com says the governor is looking to hear from the business community what types of policy changes may be palatable, specifically tax increases. He suspects the governor is looking for a starting point.
New Orleans officials say the roughly 10 inches of rain that fell on Saturday was too much for the city’s pump stations to handle. Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board Cedric Grant says the pumps were running at full capacity, despite the rising flood waters. The system is designed to pump out one inch of water in the first hour and half an inch for each subsequent hour.
Authorities in Natchitoches Parish announced yesterday a body found under a Natchitoches Parish bridge Sunday has been tentatively identified as 31-year-old Anthony Rainey. Rainey has been the subject of a missing person’s case in Red River Parish since July 31. Officials now are investigating the death as a homicide.
Small business owners impacted by the 2016 floods are not completing the flood recovery survey as quickly as state officials had hoped. Lasonta Davenport with the Office of Community Development says only 423 businesses have completed the survey that will help shape the small business loan program. The survey is online at restore.la.gov.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says the inaugural Flambeau Fest coming to Ascension Parish is another example of how tourism is alive and well in the Bayou State. He says the October 7 and 8 shows could begin another tradition that one day attracts visitors the way Jazzfest and Bayou Country Superfest do.
LSU will give some members of the faculty and staff a raise in the fall semester. The school is giving each department a 3-percent merit pay raise pool and each department head will determine how the raises will dispersed. University President F. King Alexander said in a letter that this is an effort to keep and attract quality talent to LSU.
West Baton Rouge officials have reportedly recovered a body from the Intracoastal Canal. The body was discovered by kids on a wave board who contacted authorities. Cause of dead has not yet been determined. The male body has not been identified, but the sheriff says it’s possible it could be one of the suspects wanted for an aggravated kidnapping in Lafayette. The kidnapped woman was reportedly found safe in Baton Rouge early yesterday.
A Sabine parish mother facing a murder charge after her two-year-old drowned and then tested positive for methamphetamine. Authorities say 23-year-old Christina Rivers’ son Mason was found in a neighbors Jacuzzi in June. She reportedly told authorities she left her son alone for a brief time, but autopsy confirmed he was in the hot tub for at least an hour.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is hoping to get more tourists to visit the rural areas of the Bayou State. That’s why he’s scheduled meetings in small Louisiana towns to find the best way to promote local attractions. He says these rural areas don’t always have the money or expertise to market their town. Meetings will be held in Tallulah, Opelousas, Houma, and Hammond. Nungesser has already started promoting the rural areas of the state with the Louisiana Trails and Byways, which seeks to motivate travelers to take the backroads and see what the state has to offer. Nungesser says with more direct international flights into New Orleans, they need to find a way to get those visitors out of the big cities and into other parts of the state
Congress has recessed for the summer and many lawmakers are disappointed not much was accomplished. U.S Senator John Kennedy believes some good was done with the approval of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. But he says his biggest disappointment was the failing to repeal and replace Obamacare by one vote. He says in the fall, Congress has a lot of work to accomplish.
LSU made the top 20 in Forbes’ annual list of colleges that dominate athletically and academically. Stanford came in at No. 1.
USA Today has released its 2017 conference projections, and Coach O and LSU are expected to have a great season. The Tigers are picked second in the West, with a projected 10-2 overall record and 6-2 conference record.
Louisiana Tech is picked to win the C-USA West with a 8-4 overall record and 6-2 in conference.
UL-Lafayette got 7th place in the Sun Belt with a projected 5-7 record overall, and 4-4 in conference action.
News for Monday 080717
By Dave Graichen
A 20-year-old Alexandria man has been arrested on charges of second degree murder in connection to the fatal shooting a 29-year-old man Friday. Police say Desmond Harris was found by police at around 7 p.m. Friday, after they responded to a shooting that took place just before 2 in the afternoon. Bond for Harris has been set at $1 million.
Authorities in Natchitoches Parish are working to identify a body that was found under a bridge Sunday afternoon. Authorities say it appears the body had been there for several days.
State police say a DeRidder man had been issued his 4th DWI after he caused a crash while driving with a toddler in his car Saturday on Interstate 210 between Sulphur and Lake Charles. Brandon Fowler, who had his 2-year-old child in the vehicle with him, showed signs of impairment after he side swiped another vehicle.
With some New Orleans neighborhoods seeing 8 to 10 inches of rain falling in just a few hours Saturday the rainfall overwhelmed the ability of the City’s 24 pump stations to keep up, though all were operating, city officials said Sunday. The neighborhoods of Lakeview, Gentilly, Mid City and Treme were hit the hardest. City officials warn of more potential flooding in storms forecasted for today.
Today is the 90th birthday of former four-term Governor Edwin Edwards and he’s still going strong. During an appearance on Talk Louisiana, Edwards credits his long life to good genes, as two of his grandparents lived to be over 100-years-old. The Silver Fox says he’s lived a blessed and wonderful life. A birthday bash for the former governor is planned for August 12th at the Renaissance Hotel in Baton. The Cajun Prince has five children and has been married three times.
The state Department of Health reminding parents to make sure their kids are up to date on their vaccinations as the new school year approaches. LDH Immunization director Doctor Frank Welch says students entering sixth grade also need a meningitis vaccine. Louisiana law requires children age four or older entering kindergarten, pre-k or Head Start programs to receive vaccines for polio, measles, mumps, hepatitis and chicken pox.
More students are getting their education at home instead of traditional classrooms. According to the state department of education, 26,000 students are homeschooled, while 4,000 more are enrolled in online charter schools. About 9,000 more students studied at home in 2016 than in 2010.
Two years from today, candidates will be qualifying for the governor’s race. So who will challenge Governor John Bel Edwards? Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Republicans are waiting to see what US Senator John Kennedy will do. Kennedy is 65-years-old and Pinsonat says if Kennedy wants to run for governor, it’s now or never.
If Kennedy doesn’t run, Pinsonat says Edwards’ chances of reelection look better. He says several congressmen, like Garret Graves, could raise plenty of campaign dollars, but he expects the back up front runner for the GOP would be Attorney General Jeff Landry.
President Donald Trump has nominated state Judge Terry Doughty of Rayville and Lafayette attorney Michael Juneau as federal judges in the Western District of Louisiana. There are now four vacancies in that district now that Patricia Minaldi retired to seek treatment for alcoholism.
The state legislative auditor has started an investigation into the East Baton Rouge Mayor-President’s office. There are allegations Sharon Weston-Broome’s administration misused federal grant money for a crime-fighting program. U.S. Senator John Kennedy also wants more information from the mayor’s office on this subject.
The hurricane forecast team at Colorado State increased their storm prediction total by one and now anticipate 11 named storms for the remainder of the season. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the total number of storms has been increased to 16. He says this isn’t a big change but it still shows conditions are conducive for an active season. The forecast says eight of those eleven storms will become hurricanes.
The LSU Athletic Hall of Fame Committee will honor football legend Dr. Billy Cannon with a statue on the Baton Rouge campus. Cannon hopes the statue looks like he did in his glory days, young with a lot of hair. Cannon won the university’s only Heisman in 1959.
News for Friday 080417
By Dave Graichen
The trial of a man accused in a fatal DWI crash last December that killed a child has been set for November. Keaton Spurlin pled not guilty Thursday during a pretrial conference in the 9th Judicial District Court. Spurlin is charged with DWI, vehicular homicide, five counts of vehicular negligent injury, having an open container, careless operation, running a stop sign and not wearing a seat belt. The deadly accident occurred on Dec. 28, 2016, near the intersection of Bayou Rapides Road and Vandenburg Drive. Authorities say Keaton hit the rear of a van carrying six members of a family coming home from church.
Parents stocking up on back-to-school supplies can save a few dollars this weekend during the annual sales tax holiday. Byron Henderson with the state Department of Revenue says most purchases are only subject to three percent of the state sales tax this Friday and Saturday.
National Federation of Independent Business State Director Dawn Starns says she hopes small businesses will see an increase in business but it was more beneficial for retailers when the law allowed for tax free weekend. She says they hope legislators will one day change it back so consumers can have a couple of days to purchase items tax free.
A federal lawsuit filed in Baton Rouge alleges two Orleans Parish inmates were kept in jail for five months after their sentences were served. Attorney Emily Washington with the Macarthur Justice Center says both men, in jail on a first offense, were eligible for release in August 2016, but they stayed in the River Bend Detention Center in Lake Providence until January of this year. Washington says officials knew these men were supposed to be released, but they took no action to do so.
The body of a 7-year-old boy was found in Shreveport yesterday, after he was swept away in a storm drain on Tuesday. The little boy was last seen playing near a ditch just before heavy rains began.
US Senator John Kennedy sent a letter to East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome about misuse of federal dollars. Kennedy says the BRAVE funds are meant to reduce crime and support police, but instead they’re going to people like Arthur Silky Slim Reed, who recently said justice was served when a gunman killed three police officers. A spokeswoman for Mayor’s Office said the mayor received the letter and “will be in communication with the senator.”
Four teenagers connected to the shooting death of a 61-year-old Walker man are in the Livingston Parish jail today after they were arrested in Texas. Rick McBride was fatally shot in his home when two individuals attempted to steal money and guns from him on July 23rd. A fifth person and possible gunman was also arrested in late July.
Crawfish have been found in Michigan and that state’s Department of Natural Resources is not happy. They say the red swamp crayfish damage earthen structures and compete aggressively for food and habitat, disrupting the food chain for many species in the water. Crawfish are extremely fertile and can lay up to 600 eggs at a time and reproduce twice a year. That means, there could be the chance of a Red Swamp Crayfish population becoming established in Michigan.
News for Thursday 080317
By Dave Graichen
One person is dead and a Red River Parish Sheriff’s deputy was injured during a shootout at a home south of Coushatta Wednesday morning. A state police spokesperson says the deputy was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries, while the male suspect died at the hospital. The deputy visited the home in reference to a welfare concern.
The APD reports a Pineville woman has been arrested after she left a voicemail threatening to kill everyone at a local advocacy group. 74-year-old Charlotte Webb, left a lengthy voicemail with the group's office that included "multiple, profane threats of killing everyone in the office." Webb was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention center, but was later released on a property bond.
The Alexandria Police Department now is asking residents of the Good Earth subdivision to check their vehicles and report anything that might have been stolen.
Police say a homeowner detained a burglary suspect for police after he woke up to find a man inside his truck. The suspect, one of three charged after being captured early Tuesday, later was found to have a suspected stolen gun and ammunition in his backpack.
22-year-old Tyler Alexander of Alexandria was arrested yesterday after he led APD officers on a short chase. Authorities say Alexander was jealous that his girlfriend gave someone a ride and reacted by kidnapped her. Police found Alexander hiding under a shed. Alexander was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center, charged with disturbing the peace, domestic abuse battery and a long list of other charges.
After posting racial comments on Facebook, the Assistant Police Chief in the Acadia Parish town of Estherwood has resigned. Welsh referred to Muslim women as trash bags and posted racially charged memes.
Membership has been announced for a task force that will examine the 350-million dollar TOPS scholarship program for the first time since it was established 20 years ago. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish will chair the committee. He says the panel consists of an array of lawmakers representing both parties and all corners of the state.
The task force’s first meeting is September 6
Baton Rouge police arrest a 42-year-old man for the stabbing death of his 41-year-old ex-girlfriend. Sara Hernandez was found dead in her Baton Rouge home on Sunday. Sergeant Don Coppola says detectives quickly learned Miquel Angel Lopez was their main suspect and they learned he suffered injuries during the attack. Authorities believe Lopez stayed with Hernandez’s body 10 to 14 hours before fleeing the scene.
Citing money problems, The Salvation Army homeless shelter in Monroe, the only one in the area, will close later this month. Spokesperson Jon Kalahar says church services and weekly prayer meetings will continue, and so will basic social services. About 30 homeless people sleep at the shelter every night.
This year’s “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico is the biggest one yet. LSU scientist Nancy Rabalais says the oxygen-depleted region is about 8,800 square miles, which is about the size of New Jersey. She says many of the stations, especially those close to the shore, were close to no oxygen. Rabalais says the area may actually be even bigger, but they had to stop mapping before reaching the western edge.
U.S District Judge Patricia Minaldi of Lake Charles is retiring. The federal judge took a medical leave in December to receive alcoholism treatment. According to court records, Minaldi’s drinking got so bad that a colleague asked the court to rule she cannot take care of herself. Minaldi said a few months ago that her alcoholism didn’t impact the outcome of her cases.
Officials with the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office say the body of 13-year-old Jarrett Varnado of Franklinton was recovered from Gray’s Creek. Officials say the boy was swimming when he disappeared below the water.
The massive construction project on Bourbon Street is two months behind schedule. New Orleans Public Works Director Mark Jernigan blames a rainy June and the exact location of almost all the utility lines underneath the historic street were either missing or inaccurately depicted on their plans. It might be until Halloween before all of the work is completed.
News for Wednesday 080217
By Dave Graichen
The Town Talk reports a deal should be in place soon to turn over management of the Rapides Parish Coliseum to a private company. The Police Jury voted Tuesday to authorize a group of legal counsel Greg Upton, jurors Craig Smith and Joe Bishop and parish Treasurer Bruce Kelly to negotiate a contract with SMG to manage the Coliseum.
Since the Police Jury recently agreed to the broad strokes of a deal with SMG, a contract is expected to be quickly presented to jurors for final approval. SMG executives hope to officially take over management by Sept. 1.
Louisiana’s domestic abuse laws now include dating partners, as a new law took effect yesterday. Previously these abusers could only be charged with simple battery, but the new law creates the crime of battery of a dating partner.
LSU says they may have found a new live mascot at a sanctuary in Florida. Ginger Guttner with the LSU Vet School says the prospect is a nine-month-old, 160 pound male tiger. Guttner a major renovation project on the school’s Tiger habitat is nearing competition. She says if LSU gets the Tiger, it will be donated by the rescue facility, so no cost to the university.
The resident of the third home to be completed under the Restore Louisiana program is about to be home. Lillie Gumm of Baton Rouge was one of the first people to complete the flood recovery survey at restore.la.gov. She says throughout this ordeal, she’s learned about taking deep breaths. Money from the homeowner assistance program first went to the elderly, disabled and low-income individuals.
The author of the failed gasoline tax increase proposal says the state needs to look at other ways to repair the state’s decrepit roads and bridges. Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter recommended a 17-cent gas tax hike, but the support was not there in the legislature. Carter says next year’s session is general and no tax bills can be filed. The following year is a fiscal session, but taxes are unlikely to pass during an election year. He says until lawmakers find a way to fund the state’s growing infrastructure needs, the problems will only get worse.
Two Minnesota teens are well on their way to becoming the youngest team to kayak the entire Mississippi River. Matt Rens and Jesse Richard are paddling through the Bayou. The pair has raised a little over 4-thousand dollars to help fund cleaner water in a village in a third world country.
Colorado authorities say a Baton Rouge area fire captain committed suicide in Durango, Colorado. The coroner says 48-year-old Rudi Shoats died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Shoats was wanted in Mississippi for fatally shooting his wife. 45-year-old Khristie Rollins Shoats was found dead in a vehicle outside her in Woodville, Mississippi on Sunday.
More and more women are heading to court, as the American Bar Association finds an uptick in the number of female attorneys. Women account for 35 percent of lawyers in the state, a 7 percent jump since 2004. President of the Louisiana State Bar Association, Dona Renegar (Doh-na, not Donna) credits a more accommodating environment for female attorneys with family responsibilities. Baton Rouge is slightly ahead of the national average with females representing 38 percent of attorneys in the city.
A survey finds most parents’ believe their children are performing better than what their test scores actually show. Nine in 10 parents believe their children are at or above grade level, but data shows the number is really closer to one-third. Public Relations Chair for the Louisiana PTA Stacey Simpson says with the school year about to start, review your student’s test results and to help improve your child’s academic achievement make sure you stay involved. For a full list of the Super 5 Back-to-School Power Moves visit be a learning hero.org
During a question and answer session with season ticket holders, Jets safety and former LSU Tiger Jamal Adams said the football field is a perfect place to die. Adams made the comment after he was asked about player safety. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was part of the Q-and-A session.
LSU Quarterback Danny Etlin says he feels a lot better than he did in the spring. Etling underwent a back procedure earlier this year and the senior from Indiana says he’s close to 100-percent…
News for Tuesday 080117
By Dave Graichen
Six people have been charged with helping an Alexandria man after he escaped from the Rapides Parish Courthouse last week. 37 year old Kenneth Johnson was captured two days later in Lafayette after a traffic stop. All six were charged with being an accessory after the fact, criminal conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Two were also charged with parole violations.
A new law takes effect today that seeks to curb the litter problem in Louisiana. It lowers the fine for littering from $1,000 to $900. Fines for littering were doubled in 2015, which triggered jury trial provisions that made enforcement less likely. However, the new law doubles the amount of community service time for a new offender.
Other laws set to go into effect today…Children can bring sunscreen to school without a doctor’s note. An unmarried minor seeking an abortion will not only need a notarized note from their guardian, but proof of identity as well. And portions of Governor John Bel Edwards’ criminal justice reform package takes effect.
Drivers should no longer receive speeding tickets in the mail from hidden speed cameras thanks to a new law that goes into effect today. New Orleans Senator Troy Carter’s legislation requires signs to be posted ahead of speed enforcement camera in order to collect on the fine. He says if the goal of these cameras is really to stop speeders, municipalities should have no problem posting warning signs.
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy met with White House officials Monday afternoon to discuss proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Politico reports the Cassidy-Graham proposal would maintain protections for individuals with pre-exisiting conditions, keep most of the taxes connected to the Affordable Care Act, send federal health care funds to states in block grants, but end the requirement all Americans must buy health insurance or pay a tax.
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency has proposed adding the American Creosote Deridder, an environmentally contaminated site in Deridder, to the Superfund National Priorities Site. Greg Langley with the state Department of Environmental Quality says once this Beauregard Parish site is added to the list, it’s in line to receive federal funding that can go towards cleanup efforts. The state currently has 27 other Superfund sites.
Most juvenile killers will no longer be eligible to receive life sentences without the chance for parole, as a new law goes into effect today. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor says the law was needed because the US Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that murderers convicted as juveniles could not be sentenced to life without parole. Claitor notes that just because a lifer is given a chance for parole, it doesn’t mean they will be released.
A former Livingston Parish teacher admits to having a sexual relationship with a teen student. 33-year-old Lynsie Pendarvis was arrested last June when police discovered her relationship with a 15-year-old student at Walker Freshman High School. District Attorney Scott Perrilloux says Pendarvis pleaded guilty to all charges. Pendarvis received a five-year-prison sentence, which was suspended and she must register as a sex offender for 15 years.
It was a deadly weekend in Baton Rouge. Sgt. Don Coppola with the Baton Rouge Police Department says two teens were killed when a drug deal went wrong on Sunday evening. He says a woman was also found stabbed to death in a home on Sunday morning.
A school teacher from the Baton Rouge area and a principal from Acadiana are the Louisiana State Teacher and Principal of the Year, which is awarded annually by the state Department of Education. Kimberly Eckert, a 9th grade English teacher at Brusly High School in West Baton Rouge, received the teacher of the year honor. This fall, Eckert will enter her 10th year of teaching. Tommy Byler, the principal of North Vermilion High School, received the honor of Principal of the Year. Byler has been in education for 26-years.
News for Monday 073117
By Dave Graichen
The investigation is ongoing into the death of a female inmate at the Rapides Parish Detention Center 1 Saturday morning. Authorities say 59 year old Rachel Smith was discovered, shortly before 4am, unresponsive in a cell. Investigating deputies determined Smith was killed as a result of an altercation with 35 year old Nicole Chandler. Chandler was booked for second degree murder.
Here’s an amazing statistic. A gun is stolen from a private owner every 67 minutes in Louisiana, according to the Center for American Progress. The non-profit’s Vice President of Guns and Crime Policy, Chelsea Parsons says data from the FBI finds from 2012 to 2016, 718 guns were stolen from firearms dealers in the state. But, it gets worse. Between 2012 and 2015, 31-thousand guns were stolen from individuals in Louisiana.
Claiborne Parish authorities say a prisoner abducted and fatally stabbed the assistant wardens stepdaughter after walking away from a work assignment last Thursday. Sheriff Ken Bailey says the inmate’s life eventually ended during a standoff on prison property. The prisoner, 39-year-old Deltra Henderson, was serving time for different offenses including aggravated burglary. The victim has been identified as 19-year-old Amanda Carney.
US Senator John Kennedy says a failed vote to repeal Obamacare is a loss for the American people. But the Louisiana Budget Project is relieved because they say it would have jeopardized the healthcare many Louisianans depend on. It’s unclear what direction healthcare discussions will take from here.
Beginning tomorrow, smoking will no longer be permitted at bars in Lafayette, as a ban approved by the city-parish council goes into effect. CEO of the Smoking Cessation Trust Mike Rogers calls the new ordinance a victory. He hopes this will help more people kick their smoking habit. Opponents to the ban call it government overreach. But Rogers says as more and more smoking bans are enacted around the state, they’re seeing more smokers put down their packs. Lafayette is the 11th Louisiana city to ban smoking in bars.
The Mermentau Police Chief has been charged with theft and malfeasance in office after allegedly making illegal withdrawals from the police association’s bank account. State Trooper Brooks David says they will hold Chief Amos Crader accountable for his crimes. Crader was booked into the Acadia Parish Jail on three counts of theft and three counts of malfeasance.
SWEPCO plans to use wind energy to provide power to its customers in northwest and central Louisiana. Company spokesperson Scott McCloud says SWEPCO will own 14-hundred megawatts from a wind farm currently under construction in Oklahoma. He says this project will save all SWEPCO customers more than $5 billion over the 25 year life of the windfarm.
A federal appeals court has ruled a Louisiana inmate can keep his dreadlocks as part of his faith. Christopher Ware, who is serving a 40-year sentence for sexual battery, took a vow not to cut his hair to adhere to the Rastafari religion. A three-judge appellate panel said the department of corrections policies, as applied to Ware, violates federal law.
Another LSU football season is underway as the Tigers have reported for preseason camp and they’ll practice for the first time today. Ed Orgeron is beginning his first full season as the head coach.
News for Friday 072817
By Dave Graichen
Jared Lee Nelson, a Rapides inmate on a work crew who walked away on Wednesday morning in the Sieper area, has been recaptured after a search with helicopters. The RPSO says He was found in a pasture off La. Highway 121.
Over 65-hundred students who took Advanced Placement Tests this year scored well enough to earn college course credit. State Superintendent of Education John White says that’s a 10-percent increase from last year and a 137-percent increase from 2012.. White says black students have made great strides in AP credits, with a 17 percent increase in students who earned college credits. On the down side, only 19 percent of Advanced Placement exams given in Rapides Parish last year earned high enough scores for students to be awarded credit by Louisiana colleges.
The Catholic Diocese of Alexandria announced Thursday the principal of Holy Savior Menard High School in Alexandria has resigned. Joel Desselle, who has served as Menard's principal and head football coach since 2007, has accepted a job as assistant principal at Marksville High School in Avoyelles Parish. Dwayne Lemoine, who was recently hired as assistant principal at Menard, will serve as acting principal during the search for a new leader.
Saints and Pelicans Owners Tom and Gayle Benson are getting into the beer business as they’ve announced the purchase of Dixie Brewing Company. Hurricane Katrina destroyed the brewery that once made Dixie Beer, but the plan is to get the New Orleans brewery up and running again.
UL-Lafayette had a statewide economic impact of $379 million in FY-15, according to a study by the New York-based consulting firm Appleseed. University president Dr. Joseph Savoie says the college offers about a 7 to 1 return on investment for the state.
Savoie hopes this will help higher education leaders make the case for increased state funding during difficult budget times. He says the university contributes to the economy in a variety of ways, from employing nearly two thousand people to buying local.
The Cajun music community is saddened over the death of D.L. Menard who has passed away at the age of 85. Executive Director of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, Mike Shepherd, says Menard was known as the Cajun Hank Williams. His hit “The Back Door” has sold over half a million copies.
It will be a fun-filled weekend across the Bayou State, as events are taking place in both north and south Louisiana. In Grand Isle, the Tarpon Rodeo is underway. Event president Barry Kern says it’s the oldest fishing tournament in the country in its 89th year. In north Louisiana, the 54th annual Farmerville Watermelon Festival kicks off.
One teen is dead and another was injured after being struck by a suspected drunk driver while walking on LA 784 in Red River Parish. State Police say 19-year-old Lacy Ross sustained minor injuries, and 17-year-old Rachel Barnette was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver 47-year-old Kenneth Morse was charged in the incident.
Two Capitol Special Agents and three officers from Alexandria, Virginia Police received the Medal of Valor for their bravery during the shooting spree that occurred while House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and others were at a park on June 14th. The Medal of Valor is the highest national award a public safety officer can receive.
New ULM athletics director Nick Floyd laid out his vision for the department Thursday during his introductory press conference. He takes over a program that is known as the lowest funded in the country out of the 128 FBS schools. Floyd says running a program with the highest degree of integrity is his number one priority.
There is a lot of talk this week about a new study which found brain damage in 99 percent of participating former NFL players. The report says CTE occurs after repeated blows to the head, and it causes things like memory loss, depression, and dementia. But Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine director Dr. Greg Stewart believes the report is a stretch. The Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine is one of only four medical facilities in the nation chosen to take care of the physical and mental health of former pro-players. Stewart says one of the things they’ve seen is that once a player leaves the league and isn’t playing anymore, they stop taking care of themselves physically and mentally.
News for Thursday 072717
By Dave Graichen
The Grant Parish Sheriff’s office reports a man and woman were found dead Tuesday in a Montgomery home. It’s believe 61 year old Ray Brown Killed 42 year old Rachel Flanagan and then turned the gun on himself. Officials say autopsies will be performed.
Sammy Truck Auto Plaza and Casino in Bunkie was robbed early Tuesday morning. The FBI reports 4 armed masked men entered the facility just before 3am. Two of them pointed the guns at customers and demanded their wallets the other two kicked and broke a window that separated the casino floor from the teller's cage, making off with most of the money from the cash drawer. The good news is nobody was injured. A reward of up to $5,000 is offered for information leading to arrests and indictments in the case.
Good news regarding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot in the hip on June 14th. The Congressman, who represents much of southeast Louisiana, has been discharged from MedStar Washington Hospital and he’ll begin a period of intensive inpatient rehabilitation, once completed, he can return to work.
West Nile activity is picking up in Louisiana as the state Office of Public Health says seven individuals have been diagnosed with the mosquito borne disease this month. Three cases have been reported in the Baton Rouge area and the others are in in Bossier, Ouachita, Rapides and Morehouse. Two deaths were reported from the West Nile Virus in 2016 and so far none have been reported this year.
Transgendered people will no longer be able to serve in the military after an announcement from President Trump. Richland Parish Congressman Ralph Abraham says this change makes sense. He says if someone decides to undergo a gender transformation surgery while enlisted, it could hinder their service to the military. But the ACLU of Louisiana says this is clear discrimination.
A Gallup poll finds 51 percent of Louisiana voters approve of the president’s job performance. LSU political science professor Robert Hogan says that’s not surprising since Mr. Trump carried Louisiana in the election with a whopping 58 percent.
A vote from the Public Service Commission means Entergy Louisiana customers will have upgraded meters at their homes by 2021. Entergy spokesperson Greg Guilbeau says customers will be notified when crews will change their meters, but they should not see a noticeable disruption in service. Guilbeau says Entergy will start installing the new meters in 2019. He says this new technology will also help with outage detection. Cleco customers have had the, so called, smart meters for several years.
A 10 and 12 year old are facing charges after they allegedly robbed a wireless store in Shreveport. Corporal Marcus Hines says video shows the youngsters breaking into the store on Monday night and taking phones and they returned again on Tuesday night.
All of the stolen items were recovered.
US Senator John Kennedy has filed amendments to the healthcare bill that would require abled bodied adults without children to work in order to receive Medicaid. The amendment would exclude people under age 19, those who participate in addiction treatment programs, and young adults in school and work training programs.
Today, LSU head football Coach Ed Orgeron told the Baton Rouge Rotary Club quarterback Danny Etling will have to earn the job during preseason camp, which starts next week. He says the other quarterbacks on the roster will have a chance, including incoming freshman Myles Brennan.
Former LSU Tiger Booger McFarland will be seen this fall on ABC as an in-studio analyst. McFarland has been working at the SEC Network since 2014.
Can the Saints return to the playoffs this year? For the last three years, the Black and Gold have finished with a record of 7-and-9. Coach Sean Payton says he likes the additions they’ve made on defense and they are deep in the secondary, which should help out their offense. Payton says there’s a lot of work ahead for this team, because they play in a tough division and the beginning of the schedule is difficult.
News for Wednesday 072617
By Dave Graichen
A seven year old boy was found dead in Winnsboro Monday night after he was apparently electrocuted by his neighbor’s fence. Franklin Parish Sheriff Kevin Cobb says the parents of Brandon McFarland reported him missing after he was last seen playing in his front yard. Authorities say McFarland tried to cross the fence to get his ball and was then electrocuted. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital. It appears the neighbor had electrified the fence because he was trying to prevent his dog from digging underneath it.
As Congress is set to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance program in September, the Natural Resources Defense Council is urging a shift to moving homeowners to a safer area rather than rebuilding properties that repeatedly flood. Rob Moore with the NRDC says they recommend that the National Flood Insurance Program provides homeowners a guaranteed buyout if they no longer want to rebuild. Louisiana leads the country for the number of repeated flooded properties.
The U.S. Senate is gearing up to debate the healthcare plan to replace Obamacare. Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy proposed several amendments to the GOP replacement bill, with little support. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says as a doctor, Cassidy understands the risks of taking away health insurance. Senator John Kennedy has proudly stated he will vote to repeal the ACA even without a replacement.
Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks’ campaign ad using audio from the shooting that injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is making waves. Political analyst Silas Lee says Brooks might lose some middle of the road voters from this. The ad touts Brooks’ support for the second amendment. Scalise’s chief of staff tweeted that Brooks’ ad makes his stomach turn.
An LSU study found the NBA All-Star game in February brought nearly 45 million dollars to the state. Co-author of the report Dr. Stephen Barnes says their report shows that local and state government should the necessary resources to attract big events like this to the Bayou State.
More people than ever are lying on resumes to get a job. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 85 percent of employers caught applicants fibbing on their resumes or application, up from just 66 percent five years ago. UNO business professor Mark Rosa blames a competitive job market. Rosa says some applicants may only embellish a little bit, like adding a few years to their experience, while others go as far as to make diplomas from fake universities. But he says employers are getting better at catching them, because most things on a resume are verifiable. Rosa says the internet is helping employers weed out untruthful applicants, which increases the risk of getting caught.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand announced his retirement Tuesday and will become a talk show host for WWL Radio in New Orleans. Normand has been a law enforcement officer since 1977 and is excited about his new career. Normand will replace Garland Robinette, who is also retiring.
A new startup out of Lafayette called Short and Fat offers more clothing options to men with a different build. Co-founder Jeff Martin says men who are “vertically challenged and horizontally blessed” have to resort to shopping at big and tall stores. But they often end up trading one solution for more problems, like trying to find a shirt that fits around the neck. Short and Fat has a $15,000 goal on Kickstarter that Martin says will help them launch their own website.
The Saints look to get back to the playoffs this season as they report for training camp. The New Orleans franchise has finished 7-and-9, the last three seasons. And NFL analyst Mike Detillier projects the Saints will once again be solid on offense with Quarterback Drew Brees at the helm. One of the big off-season additions was the signing of future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson. Detillier says hopefully this means head coach Sean Payton will be more committed to the running game this year.
News for Tuesday 072517
By Dave Graichen
Gas prices are about 10 cents higher now than they were this time last year. That’s according to Don Redman with AAA, who says prices will continue to climb as we get closer to Labor Day. He says refineries are struggling to keep up with record high demand. The statewide average is about $2.08 a gallon.
In a move that doesn’t surprise many in the Capital City, Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie has announced his plans to retire immediately. Newly elected Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome promised a new top cop, in the hopes of easing tensions between the community and police following the shooting of Alton Sterling. The Mayor has talked about firing Dabadie since she was elected, but civil service laws prevented her from doing so. Broome named Lt. Johnathan Dunnam as interim and says he is not going to apply for the permanent position.
New Orleans and Baton Rouge are among the most segregated cities in the nation, according to a report from 24/7 Wall Street. New Orleans came in at number six on the list, and Baton Rouge ranked thirteenth. Editor-In-Chief Doug McIntyre says in both Baton Rouge and New Orleans, the black poverty rate is roughly 30 percent, while the white poverty rate is only about 10 percent. In New Orleans, about 43 percent of the black population lives in black neighborhoods, compared to 32 percent in Baton Rouge.
A plane crash in Union Parish has claimed the life of a 73-year-old man from Monroe. Sheriff Dusty Gates says David Lockard’s small, private plane crashed into Lake D’Arbonne yesterday afternoon. The Federal Aviation Administration is one site, trying to determine a cause for the crash.
Calcasieu Parish authorities make an arrest in the 2009 murder of 19-year-old Sierra Bouziard. Her body was found on the side of the road in Moss Bluff. Sheriff Tony Mancuso says 31-year-old Blake Russel was taken into custody today after police work and DNA technology helped connect him to Bouziard’s murder. Russel was charged with second-degree murder.
The Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office says an arrest has been made in a fatal hit and run crash in Rayne. They say 42-year-old Ivy Roger had been charged with driving while intoxicated five times before, and was booked last night after hitting a bicyclist and fleeing the scene of the crash. The victim, 61-year-old Ricky Joyner, died at the scene.
A veteran New Orleans Police officer has been shot for the third time in his career. Authorities say Christopher Abbott is recovering from a gunshot wound to the leg. He was in uniform working off-duty private security patrol when someone from a dark SUV fired one shot at him. The search is on for the shooter.
USA Today’s Dan Wolken says former LSU head coach Les Miles is extremely interested in the head coaching vacancy at Ole Miss. Miles has reportedly made his interests known to influential Ole Miss boosters.
National watchdog, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, believes the 100-thousand dollar fine against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for animal abuse at its New Iberia research center does not go far enough. This is the fifth largest fine levied against a laboratory in the U.S. University spokesperson Kathleen Thames released a statement saying these incidents occurred as part of routine housing and care of nonhuman primates. But animal rights experts disagree, as there are multiple occurrences of monkeys being neglected or killed.
The state Department of Environmental Quality will distribute 12 million dollars from the Volkswagen settlement to projects proposed by public agencies that offer long term benefits to the community. Thursday is the last day to submit a proposal.
News for Monday 072417
By Dave Graichen
State Police report a single vehicle crash claimed the lives of two people early Sunday morning on LA 112 when the driver lost control, left the highway and struck some trees. Troopers say the vehicle burst into flames. The identities of both occupants are being withheld, at this time, pending positive identification by DNA analysis. It is unknown, at this time, if seat belts were used by the occupants or if the driver was impaired.
The investigation remains ongoing.
A former Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office lieutenant was officially indicted Friday after a July 2016 arrest for soliciting prostitutes, as well as other charges. An investigation revealed Stacy Bender, likely on duty at the time, had an ongoing relationship with a prostitute. Bender pleaded not guilty Friday to six counts of malfeasance in office, two counts of solicitation of prostitution, two counts of inciting prostitution, two counts of unlawful use of criminal records and one count of obstruction of justice.
More than two thousand soldiers from Fort Polk will complete anti-terrorism operations during a deployment to Iraq this fall. Base spokesperson Kim Reischling says 60 percent of the base will deploy, leaving less than two thousand men and women of the combat team on the base. The 3rd Brigade Team has trained for this deployment for the past year.
Data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows Louisiana has added nearly 21-thousand jobs since June 2016 and the unemployment rate is down to a three-year low. State officials say Lake Charles continues to be the fastest growing job market with an increase in 55-hundred jobs over the last year. Baton Rouge, Monroe and New Orleans also saw job gains over the last year.
Louisiana’s FastStart workforce training program has been named the best in the nation by Business Facilities magazine for a record eight years in a row. Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says this can help LED bring more companies to the Bayou State. Business Facilities also ranked Louisiana third for infrastructure, seventh for cost of doing business, ninth for exports and economic growth potential, and tenth for industrial electricity rates.
The US has reached an agreement with China that will allow Louisiana and other states to export rice to China for the first time. Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain expects Louisiana farmers will benefit from the new trade agreement. The US Department of Agriculture predicts China will import 5 million tons of rice in 2017 and 2018.
A poll on the State Treasurer’s race finds it to be a wide open contest. The October 14th election features three well-funded Republicans, Angele Davis, Neil Riser and John Schroder. JMC Analytics pollster John Couvillon says the GOP candidates are polling in the high single digits. There is a major Democrat in the race, New Orleans attorney Derrick Edwards. Couvillon says in the horse race portion of the survey, Edwards polled at 18-percent, which is higher than the three GOP candidates. Couvillon says the biggest number from his poll is the undecided, which is at 60-percent…
State Police report two Shreveport business owners have been arrested in connection to a multi-state human trafficking investigation. After receiving a call from the Missouri State Police alerting authorities, the owners the Palm Massage were arrested after police found evidence indicating that Chinese women were trafficked from the east coast to Louisiana and forced to work.
Multiple agencies are investigating a fire in St. Tammany Parish in which a woman’s body was discovered. It was initially believed Nanette Krentel died in the fire, but autopsy shows she actually died of a gunshot wound. The investigation by both the sheriff’s office and the state fire marshal’s office is heating up, as Krentel is the wife of the local fire chief.
The Department of Children and Family Services launches a program aimed at improving the foster care system. On any given day, there are more than 4,000 Louisiana children in foster care. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says they want to raise expectations for foster parents and caregivers through the new Quality Parenting Initiative. Walters says this initiative is about allowing foster parents to act more as parents instead of temporary caregivers, while expecting more of those foster parents.
News for Friday 072117
By Dave Graichen
A Vernon pan has been indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and second-degree cruelty to a juvenile. 35 year old Rodney Bailey Jr is believed to be responsible for the death of 2 year old Willow Rain Molina-Renteria whom he was babysitting earlier this year. The child’s mother came home to find her daughter and Bailey, the babysitter, missing. The girl's body was found the next day in a remote area of Beauregard Parish, after Bailey had been taken into custody.
Governor John Bel Edwards has written a letter to House Speaker Taylor Barras that says now is the time to discuss proposals to address the loss of over one-billion dollars in revenue that will expire July 1st, 2018. The governor suggests Barras form a working group of Republicans and Democrats. The governor also says he plans to hold meetings across the state to discuss how to address the fiscal cliff.
Lt. Bruce Simmons is back to work at the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, just over a year after being shot in the police ambush. Casey Rayborn Hicks with the sheriff’s office says Sheriff Sid Gautreaux welcomed Simmons back by promoting him from sergeant to lieutenant and his fellow deputies gave him a standing ovation.
A lawsuit filed yesterday claims Louisiana prison officials blocked attorneys from investigating "alarming" allegations of inmate abuse, including claims that mentally ill prisoners were forced to kneel or bend down and bark like dogs to get food. The federal suit, filed by the Advocacy Center, said the New Orleans-based nonprofit also has received reports that disabled prisoners at David Wade Correctional Center in Homer have been slapped, punched, kicked, sprayed with mace and bleach and stripped of clothing during the winter. The suit seeks court-ordered access to the prison so attorneys can fully investigate conditions at the facility.
Work began this week on water proofing the first six floors of the exterior of the State Capitol building. Division of Administration spokesperson Jacques Berry says new technology gave engineers a closer look that pieces of limestone were coming loose from the 80-year-old building.
The Jefferson Parish coroner says an elderly woman who died in Metairie was not strangled, but instead died of natural causes. The hunt was on for a suspect and a motive after the coroner said physical findings suggested strangulation. However, the evidence shows 84-year-old Pauline Balloon actually died of natural causes.
A Crime Prevention Research Center report finds more women and minorities are receiving concealed handgun permits compared to white males. Wade Duty, co-owner of Precision Firearms in Baton Rouge says he’s seen the exact same trend in recent years. He credits this spike to the increased awareness of domestic violence issues.
The national report finds permits for men grew 22-percent from 2012 to 2016 and permits for women increased by a whopping 93-percent.
Louisiana elected officials says they are praying for Arizona Senator John McCain’s who has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Neuro-Oncologist Dr. Aaron Mammoser with LSU Health New Orleans says glioblastoma is the most common primary brain tumor doctors see, and unfortunately it’s also the most aggressive. He says there are more than 15,000 of these tumors diagnosed every year in the US. Mammoser says the average survival is somewhere in the 16 to 18 month range. He says McCain will be surrounded by a remarkable medical staff at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.
A veteran lawman assigned to a New Orleans-based federal drug task force pleaded guilty Thursday to pocketing thousands of dollars seized during drug raids, admitting to significantly reduced charges in a clear indication that he is cooperating with a secretive U.S. Justice Department probe into law enforcement misconduct. Karl Newman was a federally deputized member of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration task force that has been accused of shaking down informants and stealing and distributing drugs seized during federal narcotics investigations.
Southern University Vice Chancellor Brandon Dumas has been fired following a tumultuous period for the university. But Dumas, who oversees student affairs and enrollment management, will appeal the termination at a hearing before the Southern University Board of Supervisors today. The top Southern administrator was placed on administrative leave on June 23, also without explanation from the university about why officials were taking that step.
News for Thursday 072017
By Dave Graichen
It’s official, almost. A private company will begin running the Rapides Parish Coliseum in September. The Rapides Parish Police Jury agreed to terms with SMG Wednesday. The company, which specializes in managing publicly owned facilities. The terms include a $125,000 yearly management fee for SMG, up to $50,000 a year in performance incentives and a 15 percent commission on advertising and sales. SMG is deferring this year's fees to 2018 and 2019, and kicking in a $100,000 grant for marketing and incentive funds to entice acts to the Coliseum. The Police Jury also voted Wednesday to dissolve the Coliseum Authority on July 31, on the condition that the contract with SMG is finalized.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office is warning residents not to fall for a scam in which callers try to convince people they face fines for missing jury duty. Callers are telling people they can be arrested and prosecuted for not reporting for jury duty in federal and state courts. The callers, of course, tell people they can pay a fine at the federal courthouse in downtown Alexandria to clear up the issue. But the victim then will receive a follow-up phone call with an offer to expedite the issue if the victim buys a Green Dot Visa card. The sheriff's office reminds people that no law enforcement agency would try to collect a fine in this manner, and neither would the courts system.
The National Weather Service in Shreveport has issued a heat advisory for the northern half of the state through 7 PM tonight. Forecasters indicate hot and humid conditions could lead to temperatures that climb into the mid to upper 90s with heat index values up 108 degrees. They urge residents to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.
Zachary Police say they have made an arrest in the case of a fatal home invasion that occurred Tuesday night. Chief David McDavid says the deceased, 20-year-old Damon Hayes Jr, allegedly broke into an elderly residents home with 20-year-old Jordale Carter and possibly two other suspects. The resident opened fire killing Hayes. Carter was booked on many charges including murder because his accomplice died during a crime. McDavid says two other suspects are still at large.
Three months ahead of the October 14 election, more than half of the races have already been settled. Candidates in 41 races had no opponents, while 16 saw no candidates at all. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says they saw a similar rate just over a year ago when 44 percent of the races were settled before reaching the ballot.
Schedler blames the public’s frustration with government for the disinterest in running for public office. Plus, he says these positions don’t pay much and they come with a lot of stress.
Could state Education Superintendent John White’s job be in jeopardy? Governor Edwards says White was not reconfirmed by the Senate during the session. Over a dozen people filed a lawsuit alleging White needed that confirmation, but a judge dismissed the case. The judge noted few elected officials have the legal authority to file a petition to fire White, and the governor is one of those.
Governor John Bel Edwards is not endorsing Damon Baldone in the public service commissioner race. Edwards appointed Baldone to serve as interim when Scott Angelle vacated the position in June. A longtime Democrat, Baldone qualified in the race as a Republican. Election Day is October 14.
Louisiana’s Congressional delegation is getting behind an effort to reform the National Flood Insurance Program. Congressman Clay Higgins is one of the co-sponsors and the Republican from St. Landry Parish says the proposal would protect policyholders from skyrocketing premiums. The current National Flood Insurance Program expires on September 30th, which is why there is a big push to reauthorize the program for another six years. Higgins says it’s their desire to limit rate increases to no more than 10 percent a year.
Governor John Bel Edwards is pleased with job growth and creation in the Bayou State. On his monthly radio call in show, the governor said several sectors of the economy are improving, especially health care thanks to expansion of the Medicaid program. Edwards says in January of 2016, the state’s unemployment rate was at 6.2-percent and the latest numbers show the unemployment rate in May of 2017 was 5.7-percent and predicts that will drop even lower when the June numbers are released.
Authorities say an 84-year-old woman at a senior living center in Metairie was choked to death and the search is on for suspects and a motive. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office says the victim was found dead Tuesday night. Detectives at first thought it was a death by natural causes, but an autopsy revealed the cause of death to be strangulation.
Monroe Police Chief Quentin Holmes announces his plans to retire. Holmes said in a news conference he has been thinking about returning to teaching for quite some time. News outlets had reported that Mayor Jamie Mayo asked for a resignation, but he says that’s absolutely not true. Mayo says Holmes will remain chief until July 30 while his office works to find someone to serve in the interim. Holmes has served as Monroe’s top cop since 2011.
A man rushing his pregnant wife to the hospital missed the birth of his child after being arrested in Rapides Parish. Creola Police Chief Health Landry says one of his officers clocked a vehicle doing 108 in a 55 mph speed zone. He says the officer witnessed more dangerous driving as he attempted to pull over Zak Evans. Landry says the officer radioed ahead to Pineville, where officers set up a road block because Evans would not stop. He says when officers finally pulled over Evans and got him out of the vehicle, he was livid. An ambulance took Evans’ wife Bridget to a local hospital, and Evans was arrested on charges of flight from an office and careless operation, as well as ticketed for speeding.
Female military veterans will have a new support system, as the state Department of Veterans Affairs is set to launch monthly Coffee Conversations in August. Female veterans outreach coordinator Alex Juan says this will offer a safe space for military women to talk about the issues affecting them. She says the discussions will be live streamed and open to all of female veterans in the state. Louisiana is home to more than 32,000 women veterans.
Governor John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday federal funding for flood control projects in the Baton Rouge area. Edwards says 220 million dollars will go to local governments in the Capital region as part of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
Edwards says each parish will submit a plan to FEMA before the money will be allocated. He says some of the money will be used to buy back significantly damaged homes from last year’s flood and make it a green space.
News for Wednesday 071917
By Dave Graichen
Tropical Storm Don degenerated to an open wave in the far southeastern Caribbean Sea late Tuesday evening after spreading bands of heavy rain and gusty winds across the Windward Islands Tuesday. Don became the fourth named storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season Monday afternoon.
A national poll finds the governor’s approval rating is up to 58 percent. Baton Rouge pollster Bernie Pinsonat says being in the upper 50s is good for any governor, but especially a Democrat in a red state. Edwards’ approval rating was at 54 percent in May.
Yesterday Governor Edwards, along with a bipartisan group of governors, issued a statement recommending a bipartisan approach to improving the nation’s health care system that engages governors across the United States in the process. It indicates that they feel it’s critically important that governors are brought to the table to provide input, and that they stand ready to work with lawmakers in an open, bipartisan way to provide better insurance for all Americans.
According to a WWL-TV report, Efforts by a group of Louisiana State Troopers to have Gov. John Bel Edwards remove State Police Commissioner Calvin Braxton have reignited after the state police said Braxton used his position to ask for special treatment from law enforcement for him and his family. The incident is connected to the arrest of Braxton’s daughter for drunk driving last year in Natchitoches. Braxton reportedly chastised the then Commander of Troop E saying the arresting trooper "should have given his daughter a professional courtesy as well as utilizing discretion in not arresting her."
As the race for State Treasurer is underway, now might be a good time to start the conversation about eliminating the position for good. That’s according Jeremy Alford, the publisher of LaPolitics.com, who says this is the first time in 17 years there has been an open race for the seat. Alford says there are currently 16 states that don’t elect their state treasurer. Alford says many voters have come to view the post of state treasurer as an unofficial watchdog to second guess and review the governor and legislature’s spending.
Three Louisiana cities are among the most stressed in the country, according to a new study from the personal finance website Wallethub. Shreveport came in at number ten on the list. Jill Gonzales with Wallethub says Shreveport did particularly badly in the health category. New Orleans, which came in at number 19, and 21st ranked Baton Rouge are also seeing similar problems related to health and work stress.
A Baton Rouge man turned himself into police after allegedly killing his ex-girlfriend. 52-year-old Robert Antoine is accused of shooting 41-year-old Monique Maxie, who later died because of her injuries. Police believe Antoine fired multiple shots at two people, and Maxie was struck exiting a car. The suspect faces charges of second degree murder, attempted second degree murder, aggravated battery and illegal use of a weapon.
Another court hearing has been set for a Shreveport man accused of killing a police officer. Grover Cannon is accused of shooting Officer Thomas LaValley six times in 2015. The 29-year-old had a hearing with a judge yesterday, and another is set for August 24. His trail is slated to begin in April of 2018.
Tulane University is the latest Louisiana school to trademark its own brew, after partnering with NOLA Brewing Company to release the Green Wave Beer. Brewery president Kirk Coco says the partnership with Tulane Athletics was a no brainer because the school is such a big part of the city, and NOLA Brewing is all about New Orleans.
Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves expressed his frustrations over the barrier between lanes of I-12 at a FAST Act hearing in Washington. Graves says the barrier seemed to contribute to flooding in communities north of I-12. He says something has to be done to address drainage concerns on the highway. Graves says there was about a six foot difference in water levels on the north and south sides of the interstate.
The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation names LSU head gymnastics coach DD Breaux the Most Outstanding Coach in Louisiana. Breaux just completed her 40th season in 2017. She says being recognized by people outside of gymnastics means a lot. LSU finished as the NCAA National Runner-up for the 2nd straight year this past season.
New Orleans has been named the number four city in the US by readers of Travel and Leisure. Kristian Sonnier with the New Orleans CVB says the magazine ranked cities based on six categories, including culture, friendliness, shopping, and overall value
Sonnier says the CVB works around the clock to ensure New Orleans remains at the top of these rankings.
No-frills discount carrier Frontier Airlines is adding direct flights from New Orleans to four U.S. cities as part of a broader expansion that will boost its network to 82 destinations. Starting in October, Frontier will offer nonstop service from Louis Armstrong International Airport to San Antonio and Austin, Texas to Long Island New York and Providence, Rhode Island. For a limited time, Frontier is selling introductory, one-way fares on some flights starting at $39.
The Environmental Defense Fund is suing the Trump Administration for extending the red snapper season. Director of the Gulf of Mexico Oceans program, Robert Jones, says his hope is to get rid of fixed seasons because they do not benefit anglers. He says this suit is a catalyst for change towards more flexible access. The group fears overfishing will hurt the snapper population, but opponents say that shouldn’t be a problem.
News for Tuesday 071817
By Dave Graichen
5th District Congressman Ralph Abraham says the Defense Budget bill passed late last week by the House, can put the US back on the path to military superiority. Abraham, who is Louisiana's only member of the House Armed Services Committee, says Louisiana's federal military bases and troops would thrive under the bill, which he said would stave off any reductions or closures in the state. The bill, passed Friday, still has a long way to go, it still needs to pass the Senate and President Trump must sign it before it becomes law.
It’s been a full year since an out of state shooter gunned down six law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge. Three of those officers lost their lives that day. Sheriff Sid Gautreaux says even a year later, the tragedy has put officers on high alert.
Deputy Brad Garafola, Officer Matthew Gerald, and Cpl. Montrell Jackson were killed in the ambush.
East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Tullier continues to defy the odds. Nick has made tremendous strides in his recovery after being shot three times by a gunman who ambushed Baton Rouge police officers. His father James says Nick underwent major abdominal surgery last week to help with the infection he’s been battling since the shooting. He says Nick is able to move his arms and legs, and about a month ago he even said the word hello out loud, which are strides Nick was never supposed to make.
Governor John Bel Edwards has launched a new program called Constituent Services on the Geaux to give Louisiana residents a chance to meet face to face with someone from the office to answer questions. Constituent Services receives nearly 1,000 inquiries each week. But, the new program that launches today will take the program on the road. The Governor’s office says they are working with local and statewide elected officials to alert residents in their districts when the program is coming to their town.
This summer’s dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to be the largest ever and Louisiana aquatic life will suffer most burden of the effects. LSU Professor of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences Nancy Rabalais says an increased load of nitrates were carried by the Mississippi River during the spring leading to the hypoxia, or dead zone. She says this is a lack of oxygen in the water and it is deadly for marine life.
The state’s Cyber Crime Unit has arrested a man on over 100 counts of child pornography. They say 27-year-old Cameron Fairley of Sulphur was booked on 80 counts of sexual abuse images and/or videos of children and 29 additional counts of sexual abuse images and/or videos of children under the age of 13.
State officials are ramping up efforts to boost participation in the flood recovery survey. Pat Forbes with the Office of Community Development says they’re bring the forms to the ground level and going door to door. He says this is the first step for flood victims to get the aid they need. The survey can be found online at restore.la.gov.
According to a recent study, sleep deprivation is costing Americans billions. Dr. Jake Rodi with Ochsner says people are more sleep deprived than ever. He says the biggest medical cause of sleep loss is sleep apnea. The study from Rand Europe finds the US loses over 1 million working days a year to sleep deprivation.
A man is behind bars on an attempted murder charge after a heroin overdose on LSU campus. Police say the 25-year-old was found unresponsive in a bathroom stall with a needle in his arm. 33-year-old Joshua Brian is accused of giving the drug to the victim, and making no attempt to call for help after the overdose. The victim was resuscitated by EMS. Brian also faces a slew of drug-related charges.
A Ouachita Parish man was arrested after allegedly punching a pregnant woman over meth. The victim reportedly told police she fell asleep in the car on the way to 47-year-old William Chapman’s residence. Police say she woke up to Chapman and an unknown woman punching her and yelling at her to return the 36 grams of methamphetamine they believe was stolen from the home. Chapman was booked on one count of simple battery.
The Baton Rouge Police Department is looking for a man they say fatally shot and killed his ex-girlfriend. Sgt. Don Coppola says 52-year-old Robert Antoine is accused of opening fire on two individuals early Saturday morning. He says Antoine should be considered dangerous.
A Kinder man has been arrested after he was caught dumping a load of kittens off on the side of the road. Deputy Christopher Ivey with the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office says they were able to retrieve the kittens from the ditch and all have been adopted.
A St. Helena Parish grand jury has indicted a woman on a murder charge in the death of her sister, whose body was found in a shallow grave. 38-year-old Deborah Palmer of Amite, will face one count of second-degree murder in the death of her sister, 36-year-old Rebecca Blades of Greensburg.
Beginning this month, children with incarcerated parents can get backpacks full of school supplies through the Louisiana Corrections Association’s Kits for Kidz program. Vice President Angela Whittaker says these kids are thrilled when they get their backpack full of goodies. $15-thousand worth of supplies will be handed out this year.
News for Thursday 071317
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise is once again out of ICU nearly a month after being shot at a Congressional baseball game. Scalise underwent surgery last week for an infection and was readmitted to the intensive care unit, according to MedStar Washington Hospital Center. He remains in serious condition.
The state Department of Education announces 33% of students scored mastery on LEAP tests in 2017, which is the same as last year. But Superintendent John White says more must be done to close gaps between advantaged students and historically disadvantaged students. 45 percent of white students achieved mastery this year compared to 19 percent of black students.
34 year old John Cupp of Dry Prong man is facing drug and other charges after a traffic stop. Cupp was reportedly driving left of center when he was pulled over. Crystal meth was found in the vehicle. Cupp was arrested and charged with possession of crystal meth with intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving left of center and felony probation violation.
A 21-year-old is facing a murder charge after police say she stabbed another female multiple times. Terrebonne Parish authorities say Miranda Gilley was arguing about a man with 24-year-old Jessica McGehee when a fight broke out. That’s when Gilley allegedly stabbed McGehee, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Three out of four farm recovery grant program meetings are scheduled for today for farmers and ranchers who suffered losses as a result of the March and August 2016 floods. Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Mike Strain says during these meetings, the guidelines and application process for receiving recovery grant money will be discussed. The meetings take place today in Welsh, Crowley and Opelousas and more information can be found on the Department of Agriculture’s website. Strain says meetings in North Louisiana are in the process of being scheduled
The U.S. Geological Survey has found the long term rate of Louisiana wetland loss is slowing. Research Geographer Brady Couvillion says analysis finds rates of land area loss have continued to decrease since the 1970s. He says one possible reason for this is the lack of major hurricane activity over the past 8 years. About half of the country’s wetlands have been lost over the last 200 years, with the greatest losses in Louisiana where an area the size of Delaware has been lost since the 1930s. The report does point out that these findings do not indicate that coastal wetland loss has ceased to be a serious issue
The Waitr app is making its debut in Monroe today. The food delivery service has become wildly popular in south Louisiana and other states after its 2015 launch in Lake Charles and is picking up steam here in Cenla. Co-founder and Launch Director Addison Killebrew says after adding new markets like Baton Rouge, they’re thrilled to put another Waitr location on the map. Killebrew says they’re eager to expand their options in Monroe, and they hope to have over 100 restaurants in the system in the near future.
A Vermilion Parish man will spend 45 days in federal prison and pay a $2500 fine for killing a whooping crane in 2014. Adam Einck with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says they offered a $10,000 reward for information when the protected bird was found shot, and multiple people reported 21-year-old Lane Thibodeaux.
The August recess for the US Senate has been delayed by two weeks, and Louisiana Senator John Kennedy is glad lawmakers can keep working. He says the Senate hasn’t accomplished much, and he would feel guilty about taking four weeks off work.
Kennedy and others urged Senate leadership to cancel the recess, but he says he’ll settle for meeting halfway.
A one-year-old is in critical condition after being hit by a vehicle in Walker. Authorities say the toddler was transported to an area hospital. The child has been identified as Tavein Parker, and the child’s family says he was struck on private property in Livingston Parish. The investigation is ongoing as police try to piece together what led to this tragic incident.
Former “Sons of Guns” star Will Hayden pleaded no contest to two rape charges in Livingston Parish today. Hayden was sentenced to life in prison for an aggravated rape charge and 10 years for aggravated incest. The new sentences come after Hayden received a life sentence in April for aggravated rape and forcible rape in East Baton Rouge Parish.
News for Wednesday 071217
By Dave Graichen
The APD has charged a 17-year-old in connection with the fatal Friday shooting of another teen in Alexandria. Tykarius Laneheart has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of another 17-year-old just after noon Friday in the 70 block of Louisiana Avenue. A warrant was issued for Laneheart, an Alexandria resident, on Monday, and he surrendered to detectives on Tuesday. He was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center, as was 32-year-old Shondrika Laneheart, also of Alexandria. She was charged with being an accessory after the fact to second-degree murder.
The public boat launching ramps (operated by the Red River Waterway Commission) located in Grant, Rapides, and Avoyelles Parishes have been closed due to high water caused by heavy rainfall. These include the ramps at the Colfax, Red Bayou, Boyce, Fort Buhlow, Alexandria Levee Park, Poland, Ben Routh, and Brouillette recreation areas. The boat launches will be re-opened as soon as conditions permit the public to utilize the ramps safely. For up-to-the minute information, visit www.redriverwaterway.com
State Troop E has a new man in charge. Jason A. Smith was appointed to the position of Captain over Troop E. on Monday. Prior to his appointment, Captain Smith held the rank of Lieutenant. Troop E is headquartered in Alexandria and serves 10 parishes
The girlfriend of the man who was fatally shot by an Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s deputy has been released from jail after posting $75,000 bond. State Police say 21-year-old Dequince Brown attacked the deputy during the struggle with 27-year-old Dejuan Guillory who was killed in the incident. Brown’s lawyer, Joe Long, says Guillory was begging for his life when he was shot. State Police say they are reviewing dash cam video of the incident.
Qualifying begins today for the October election. Yesterday New Orleans Representative Walt Leger announced he will not run to be the next mayor of the city. He said in an email that, “despite a clear path to victory” he wants to keep his public service focused on working hard and studying issues within the state legislature. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell also said his ongoing work in the capitol will keep him out of City Hall.
Qualifying begins today for the state treasurer race, after John Kennedy vacated the office to become a US Senator. UL-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says this is the first time this post has been open since 2000, so it should be interesting. He says the fact that Kenner Representative Julie Stokes dropped out, could open it up to other contenders. Cross says many politicians see this office as a stepping stone to higher positions, as Kennedy did when he moved to the US Senate.
Small business optimism is declining as federal lawmakers are gridlocked on plans to repeal and replace Obamacare. That’s according to a survey from the National Federation for Independent Business. State director Dawn Starns says businesses can’t plan for the future with all the uncertainty on the federal level.
Louisiana drivers are jerks on the road according to a driving awareness campaign that promotes courteous driving. Speeding up to prevent someone from passing us and failing to use our turn signals puts us 4th worst in the US.
A grand jury handed down a murder indictment against 25-year-old Christopher Landry of Denham Springs, who is accused of killing a sensual massage therapist at his home last month. Landry reportedly told authorities he strangled 24-year-old Kayla Denham because she tried to steal his wallet. Landry is being held in the Livingston Parish Detention Center on a $250-thousand bond.
An Amite Walmart that was set on fire last weekend sustained over a million dollars in damage. That’s according to Sheriff Daniel Edwards, who says much of the damage was to the inventory in the store, not structural damage to the building. He says 45-year-old Larry Schouest of Hammond combined chemicals to start the fire. Edwards says the chemical smoke from the fire ruined all of the contents in the building. Schouest is accused of setting a string of fires in south Louisiana Walmart’s, beginning in Ponchatoula on June 27. From there, Schouest allegedly set fire to the Amite Walmart and one in Hammond on Saturday.
Elio Motors in northwest Louisiana has been fined over half a million dollars by the Louisiana Motor Vehicle Commission who says the three-wheel car making company violated state law. Commission spokesman Keith Marcotte told KEEL in Shreveport that vehicle makers or sellers in Louisiana have to have a manufacturers and dealers license. Elio has yet to produce a vehicle, but they have a pre-purchase program which the commission says is breaking laws against car companies selling directly to consumers. Attorneys for Elio said they view their system as taking reservations for vehicles. The $545,000 fine was handed down Monday.
New Orleans-based Glo Airlines has decided to suspend service beginning Saturday while it searches for a new operator. GLO Founder and CEO Trey Fayard said he will return to its Mid-South cities once the right partner is found.
The Jeanerette Police Department announces one of their officers has been arrested on a Medicaid fraud warrant out of East Baton Rouge by officials with the state Attorney General’s Office. She is identified as 38-year-old Shekeitha Lewis. Lewis has been placed on administrative leave. An Iberia Parish Sheriff’s deputy was booked on the same charges and fired according to reports.
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in locating a 10 foot tall yard giraffe that was stolen from a local storefront. Authorities say the statue weighs 200 pounds and is valued at one thousand dollars. Anyone with information on the missing giraffe is encouraged to contact police.
It looks as though this year will be a good one for the brown shrimp harvest in the Gulf of Mexico. According to NOAA’s annual forecast, the harvest is expected to yield 44.2 million pounds, which is above the predicted value for the last two years.
News for Tuesday 071117
By Dave Graichen
Since 2001, the state’s electorate has become more diverse. That’s according to John Couvillion with JMC Analytics and Polling. He says black voter registration comprised of 29-percent of the electorate at the start of President George W. Bush’s administration and is 31-percent today, but there has been much bigger gains with other racial groups.
Couvillion says his research finds there’s been a decline in white Democrats and a steady gain in registered Republicans and Independents.
Former Governor Bobby Jindal’s ex-budget chief, Angele Davis, joins the pool of candidates running for state treasurer. Republican state senator Neil Riser, Republican former state representative John Schroder and Democratic attorney Derrick Edwards are the others seeking the post vacated by U.S. Senator John Kennedy. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says none of the candidates are known statewide. Qualifying begins tomorrow.
State Police has released more details about last week’s fatal shooting involving an Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Deputy. Authorities says the man who was fatally shot, 27-year-old Dejuan Guillory, allegedly stole a four-wheeler and struck the Deputy in the head during a traffic stop. L-S-P says during a struggle, is when the Deputy fatally shot Guillory.
A 16-year-old has been arrested after allegedly beating an elderly couple with a hammer inside their Kenner home. Police responded after a 70-year-old woman walked to her neighbor’s home covered in blood asking for help for she and her 89-year-old husband. Kenner Police Lt. Brian McGregor says the teen also stole the victims’ vehicle. McGregor says teen was upset that the elderly couple he performed odd jobs for did not allow him to borrow their car.
65% of high school seniors submitted FAFSA paperwork this year compared to 58% last year. Senior Educational Technology consultant with the department of ed, Stephanie Marcum, says the numbers should continue to grow, because it will be a requirement next year for all seniors to complete the forms for federal financial aid..
The U.S. Senate is waiting on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to make revisions to proposed legislation that would repeal and replace the nation’s health care law. Republican Bill Cassidy says the initial Senate healthcare plan doesn’t have enough support, so he hopes McConnell uses some of the ideas the senior Senator from Louisiana suggested months ago. Cassidy says since there are 52 Republicans in the US Senate, they need to come up with a bill that has the support of some Democrats.
President Trump is urging Congress to pass a health care bill before they leave for the August recess.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana has a new way for its members to make an informed decision when it comes to getting a medical procedure. It’s called Smart Shopper and David Hochheiser (Ho-heiser) says it’s available on the Blue Cross website. Hochheiser says if a customer needs an MRI they can use SmartShopper and they’ll likely notice a wide range in costs for the same medical service.
The Louisiana Department of Health and the Louisiana Workforce Commission will host a series of workforce summits as they seek to hire qualified individuals to work with people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Executive Management Officer for the Office of Citizens with Developmental Disabilities Tiffany Dickerson says summits are scheduled to take place Thursday in Lafayette and Friday in Alexandria. Dickerson says the outcome of the summits is to streamline and improve the hiring practices of providers, bring down onboarding costs and identify training opportunities.
News for Monday 071017
By Dave Graichen
One of the officers wounded in the deadly ambush on cops in Baton Rouge last year is suing leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement. On July 17th, 2016, 29-year-old Gavin Long killed three officers and wounded three others in a targeted attack. The suit accuses Black Lives Matter of inciting violence. But legal analyst Tim Meche doesn’t see this going far. The lawyer for one of the defendants says Black Lives Matter doesn’t have anything to sue.
Congressman Ralph Abraham has secured a $1.5 million federal grant to boost the CenturyLink-IBM Century Village project in Monroe. The funding would create a new access road that would link Century Village and IBM. Abraham said the grant could stimulate up to $20 million in economic development and create at least 80 new jobs.
Sen. Bill Cassidy says the initial GOP bill to repeal and replace the nation's health law is probably "dead" and President Donald Trump's proposal to just repeal it appears to be a "non-starter". At this point Cassidy says They don't know what the plan is, But Clearly the draft plan is dead. Sen. John McCain said Sunday it may now be time for Republicans to come up with a new proposal with support from Democrats.
Abortions in the Bayou State have decreased by 4-percent from 2015 to 2016, according to numbers by the state Department of Health. Nearly 9-thousand abortions were performed in 2016 down from 93-hundred in 2015 and just over 10-thousand abortions reported in 2014. According to the data, women categorized as “nonwhite” accounted for 70-percent of abortions performed in 2016, 35 were under the age of 15.
The oil and gas industry seems to be coming back slowly but surely. The number of rigs in the US increased by 12 this week to 952, including 2 in Louisiana. Only 440 rigs were active the prior year.
Raising Cane’s has been named the fastest-growing fast food chain in the US by Nation’s Restaurant News. Cane’s has nearly 330 locations, including 50 in Louisiana.
The State Police report a payroll supervisor bilked the Louisiana Supreme Court of $116,000 by setting up an elaborate web of fake judicial appointments and far-flung bank accounts. Authorities say 38 year old Misty Wood embezzled the money in a string of transactions between April 2016 and February 2017. The fraud was discovered after the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office conducted a routine audit of pay records.
Four jockeys from Texas have been arrested by State Police for a hazing incident that took place in a locker room at Delta Downs race track in Vinton. Authorities say they shaved off a juvenile male’s eyebrow and threw hot sauce on his genitals. The victim was a race track employee.
The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office says a volunteer firefighter was killed when responding to a blaze in the Mt. Hermon area. They say 54-year-old Ronda Varnado of Franklinton was in a fully loaded firetruck when it ran off the road then tipped causing the water tank to crash into the cab.
Have you ever thought of your pets as being fat or skinny? A recent State of Pet Health report found Louisiana ranks No. 5 for non-obese dogs, and No.6 for slim cats. But Dr. Nancy Welborn with the LSU School Of Veterinary Medicine says while your pet may not be obese, even an overweight furry friend faces serious health risks. The report found that one in three pets who visited vets in 2016 was overweight or obese.
LSU Football Coach Ed Orgeron returns to SEC Football Media Day today in Hoover, Alabama. Orgeron’s last appearance was in 2007 as the head coach of Ole Miss. The Rebels went 3-9 that year and Orgeron was fired. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says Coach O will be asked numerous times today how he’s changed as a coach.
There was some hope pitcher Alex Lange would return to LSU for his senior season, because he had yet to sign a professional baseball contract with the Chicago Cubs, who drafted him in the first round. But Lange and the World Champs got a deal done before a 4 PM deadline Friday.
News for Friday 070717
By Dave Graichen
District 79 State Representative Julie Stokes has announced she will no longer make a run for State Treasurer because she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and her doctors have determined she must undergo at least five months of chemotherapy. Qualifying for the race is next week, Republican state legislators John Schroder and Neil Riser are the main candidates.
U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise remains in the hospital in serious condition following surgery Thursday to try to treat infection related to the wounds he sustained in a mass shooting last month. Officials with the MedStar medical center in Washington released a statement yesterday saying the Congressman tolerated the procedure well," adding that further updates would be provided as appropriate. The 51 year old Scalise was readmitted to the intensive care unit at the Washington, D.C. hospital on Wednesday and his condition downgraded from "fair" to "serious."
The Tax Foundation has updated its national review of sales tax rates and Louisiana continues to rank number one with a combined state and local sales tax rate averaging just above 10-percent. Director of state projects for the Tax Foundation, Scott Drenkard, says the Bayou State has high sales taxes, because its property taxes are lower than most states thanks to the Homestead Exemption. Drenkard says when you combine sales, property and income taxes, Louisiana is one of the least tax burdened states in the country.
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the deadly August south Louisiana flood, the head of Louisiana’s Office of Community Development, Pat Forbes, says they are ramping up on spending the federal grant money designed to help flood victims get back in their homes. Forbes says a majority of grants that have been handed out, went to individuals who have finished rebuilding.
Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies arrested two women and a man participating in a healthcare protest involving about 20 people at U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy's offices in Metairie on Thursday morning. Deputies booked the trio on a count of remaining in a place after being forbidden, a form of criminal trespassing in Louisiana. That offense is a misdemeanor that can carry up to six months in jail as well as a maximum fine of $500.
Louisiana will pay $5.4 million to the federal government to settle a debt tied to former Gov. Bobby Jindal's privatization of the charity hospital system, far less than the $190 million federal officials originally said the state owed, under a settlement released Thursday. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2014 ordered Louisiana to repay the money for pieces of the initial privatization deals that the Medicaid agency, known as CMS, rejected as improper. Louisiana officials have been haggling over repayment terms ever since.
Education leaders are letting teachers and students know what policy changes can be expected when they head back to class in August. Debbie Meaux, Louisiana Association of Educators President, says a new law was recently signed by the governor that would limit testing time, to 2% of a student’s learning time. Meaux also says that teachers and administrators will be engaging with a new accountability system.
A two-year-old Lockport boy is another child who has died in a rash of drownings around Louisiana. Lt. Brennan Matherne with the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office says around noon on the 4th of July deputies responded to a call of a child found unresponsive in the bottom of a pool. He says the family of little Kevin Cortez III was visiting the home. The child was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
An Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Deputy has been injured and one man is dead after an officer involved shooting in Mamou. State Police Trooper Scott Moreau says the deputy was called to investigate an attempted burglary when an altercation took place between the officer and 27-year-old Dejuan Guillory and Guillory was shot and pronounced dead at the scene.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Agents arrested five boaters for allegedly operating their vessel while intoxicated during their Operation Dry Water Weekend. LDWF Spokesperson Adam Einck says agents were on patrol during the fourth of July holiday with a heightened awareness for impaired boat operators. Those arrested ranged in ages from 21 to 47.
The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s office announces an arrest in the death of a nine-month-old infant. 28-year-old Benjamin Joseph Carter Senior of Hammond has been charged with second-degree murder. An autopsy shows the toddler died from blunt force trauma.
LSU pitcher Eric Walker will not pitch in 2018 as he needs Tommy John Surgery to repair a damaged ligament in his throwing elbow. Recovery time is usually one year. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Walker’s injury means there will be three new weekend starters for the 2018 season. Walker first complained of discomfort in his forearm before the College World Series.
Michael Federico was introduced as ULM’s new head baseball coach today. The former assistant at Southern Miss will have the difficult task of building a program that won just 12 games last season. There are reports that Christian Ostrander is leaving Louisiana Tech to replace Federico as Southern Miss’ pitching coach.
You can add another layer to the fuming rivalry between LSU and Florida on the gridiron. The Gators have announced their homecoming game will be the LSU game on October 6th.
Many running back AJ Carter can’t make his mind on where he wants to play football in college. He originally committed to UCLA, then switched his commitment to LSU and now he’s switched back to UCLA
News for Thursday 070617
By Dave Graichen
Hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University have updated their annual hurricane season predictions, calling for above average activity for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. CSU forecasters are calling for 15 named storms, eight of which will become hurricanes. Three of those classified as major.
On the one-year anniversary of Alton Sterling’s death, seven New Black Panther Party members were arrested while protesting outside of the Baton Rouge Police headquarters. Police say members of the party tried to storm the police barricade and one party member allegedly had a Taser in his hand. Those arrested are facing misdemeanor charges.
Minden Representative Gene Reynolds has decided not to step down from his position as the leader of the House Democratic Caucus, saying he will finish out his term as chairman. He says many people from both parties reached out and asked him to stay on and make sure the person who moves into the position knows what all goes on behind the scenes.
It looks as there is a mayoral shift moving through the state as five of Louisiana’s biggest cities have experienced a change in power over the last two years. That’s according to, Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com, who says Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Shreveport and soon to be New Orleans have recently seen a change. Alford says the most interesting thing about these elections is only one candidate was able to flip a seat, Republican Nic Hunter replaced Democrat Randy Roach in Lake Charles. He says New Orleans residents will select a new mayor in the fall.
Days after an interview that suggested she was preparing for a last-minute entry into the New Orleans mayor's race, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson has told supporters she won't be jumping in after all. Peterson posted her decision on social media Wednesday.
Peterson, head of the state Democratic Party and a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, has long been seen as a potential contender to replace Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who can't run for re-election because of term limits.
Sometimes what’s lost is best lost. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office reports a suitcase checked into the lost and found today at Louis Armstrong Int’l airport in New Orleans. Inside, close to 10 pounds of marijuana. Deputies were called to the airport and a short time later arrested 3 people who showed up to came the suitcase.
A two-year-old boy is now the fourth child to die in a rash of drownings in Tangipahoa Parish. The state Department of Children and Family Services is advising parents of water safety during the summer months. Mona Michelli with the DCFS Division of Child Welfare says this is a time to be vigilant. Louisiana had the second highest rate of drownings in the nation from 2013 to 2015 with 71 children dying, according to the state Health Department.
South Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins has apologized for posting a video inside a gas chamber used by Nazis. In the five-minute video, Higgins said he wanted to use the back drop of a prison camp to show Americans why our military must be invincible. But the director of a global Holocaust research center says making a political statement where thousands of Jews were killed is not appropriate. The video has been taken down.
Louisiana is now on board with Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Utah and Washington, as Governor Edwards signed into law a measure to allow students to bring sunscreen to school. Supporters hope this law brings awareness to the dangers of skin cancer, along with the choice to bring sunscreen to school. School districts across the country have in place a ban on any non-prescription medication being brought to school. This law would make it okay in the case of sunscreen.
Arguments were heard yesterday before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Christopher Ware, a Rastafarian inmate with dreadlocks, who doesn’t want to cut his hair as prison rules state, because he says it goes against his religious beliefs. ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Marjorie Esman says religious discrimination against prisoners is prohibited.
LSU pitcher Eric Walker will meet with a physician with the Texas Rangers tomorrow. Walker’s season ended during the College World Series, because of discomfort in his throwing arm. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says if the injury to Walker keeps him out of the 2018 season or forces him to miss an extended period of time, it opens another spot in the weekend rotation.
In NBA news…free-agent guard Nick Young has signed a one-year deal with the Golden State Warriors. The Pelicans fron office was interested in signing the 32-year-old after he averaged 13 points a game for the Lakers a season ago.
Former Saints Kicker Morten Andersen will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month. It was announced today that his son will present his Dad in the Hall.
News for Wednesday 070517
By Dave Graichen
Secretary of State Tom Schedler will not turn over voter identification information as requested by President Donald Trump’s voting commission. Schedler says voter information like Social Security numbers, birth dates and mother’s maiden name should remain private. The Republican calls the request by Trump’s commission an overreach and politically motivated. Schedler says state law allows anyone to purchase limited voter information, which would include names, party registrations, voter histories, but not how a person votes.
A suspect who shot at a sheriff’s deputy in Ouachita Parish has been taken into custody. The shooting happened at about 4:30 Tuesday morning in south Monroe during a traffic stop. A spokesperson with the Sheriff’s Office says the deputy was not hit when two shots were fired.
U.S. Senator John Kennedy is among 10 Senate Republicans calling for the cancellation of the August recess. Kennedy says Congress has three months to extend the National Flood Insurance Program, which expires September 30th. He says a budget and 12 appropriations bills before that date also has to be approved to avoid a government shutdown. No word if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will cancel the August recess.
About 38-thousand state workers will see a pay raise this fiscal year. The higher wages will cost the state an additional 48-million dollars, but state civil service director Byron Decoteau says the raises combat a high turnover rate in state government, which is also costly. Decoteau says prison guards and probation officers are among the state workers that will see an even higher pay on January 2nd.
The state department of transportation is mourning the loss of one its employees who was killed while fixing potholes near New Iberia. DOTD spokesperson Rodney Mallett says 63-year-old Paul Featherston was standing behind a dump truck when he was struck. The State Police are investigating the fatal accident. At this time, no charges have been filed against the 88-year-old driver.
Sgt. Staty Lewis with the St. John Parish Sheriff’s office is lucky to be alive after he was hit by a drunk driver. Sheriff Mike Tregre says 29-year-old Davis McGirt of Baton Rouge was travelling at high speeds when he slammed into the police unit. McGirt is charged with DWI, vehicular negligent injury, and careless operation. Lewis was assisting with an accident on the side of I-10 when he was hit. He was airlifted to an area hospital and treated for head, neck, and back injuries.
A traffic stop by the Grant Parish Sheriff’s led to the arrest of a Pollock man for several drug charges. 36 year old Tillman Terrebonne, Jr was arrested for Possession of C.D.S. crystal meth, Possession of Hydrocodone, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and a Probation Violation.
Public school students will learn to write cursive this year, as a law by Franklinton Senator Beth Mizell has gone into effect. Mizell pushed the bill through last year because she was worried kids won’t be able to sign their names or read cursive writing. The requirement was delayed until this year to give schools time to prepare.
Farmers and ranchers impacted by last year’s floods could be eligible for recovery grants. Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says the state has $10 million to help affected farmers. He says to qualify, you must have had at least $10,000 in uninsured losses.
LSU announces outfielder Antoine Duplantis will wear the jersey number eight next year. That jersey goes to the upperclassman who exemplifies leadership and dedication to the program.
The LSU men’s basketball program recently picked a verbal commitment from one of the top point guards in the country. Ja’Vonte Smart from Scotlandville High School in Baton Rouge has chosen to stay home and play for the Tigers.
News for Friday 063017
By Dave Graichen
Plastipak Packaging announces its adding production lines at its manufacturing facility in Pineville. Plastipak makes plastic containers for food, beverage and consumer products. The state’s economic development office says Plastipak’s 15 million dollar investment will result in over 30 new direct and indirect jobs.
Louisiana ranks ninth in the country for structurally deficient rural bridges, according to the transportation research group TRIP. State Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says that’s not surprising, as he just had to close a bridge in Vernon Parish.
The report found 15-percent of rural bridges in Louisiana need to be repaired or replaced.
LSU Health New Orleans unveils a plan to reduce cancer deaths over the next five years. Director of the Louisiana Cancer Prevention and Control program Donna Williams says with expanded access to Medicaid more individuals should get screened and they’re also working in communities to reduce factors that contribute to cancer, like obesity and smoking. Louisiana ranks fourth in the nation in cancer deaths.
A jury trial is set for December in the case against a Louisiana private investigator accused of trying to illegally obtain Donald Trump's tax returns before last year's presidential election. Jordan Hamlett's trial is scheduled to start Dec. 4. U.S. District Judge James Brady set that trial date on Thursday. Earlier this month, Brady refused to suppress statements that Hamlett allegedly made to federal agents before his arrest on a charge he misused a Social Security number.
The US has reached a new sugar trade agreement with Mexico. General Manager of the American Sugarcane League Jim Simon says Mexico flooded the US market with subsidized sugar, and this agreement should end Mexico’s illegal dumping practices.
Simon says the market flooding deflated prices, which hurts local farmers.
The state office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control suspends the alcohol permit for Reggie’s Bar, a popular establishment near the LSU campus. On Monday night, Baton Rouge police arrested 37 individuals in a sting operation for underage drinking.
Schools.com ranks the University of Louisiana at Monroe the best four year college in the state. ULM president Dr. Nick Bruno says it is exciting and satisfying to be recognized this way. He says ULM is a small institution that has a very big attitude.
The ratings are based on factors like affordability and variety of degree programs.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore will provide more details today on last July’s ambush on police officers in Baton Rouge. Moore has called a 10 AM press conference in which more details will be learned about Gavin Eugene Long, the gunman who ended up killing three officers and injuring three others. Former East Baton Rouge prosecutor Prem Burns says she’s not sure how those details would serve the community. She says she doesn’t understand the need for a media event because the ambush is still painful to many people.
Today a north Louisiana legend is being laid to rest, as funeral services for Johnny Huntsman begin today at 2 p.m. in Oak Grove. Huntsman opened the first Johnny’s Pizza House in 1967 in Monroe, which has grown into an empire spanning several states.
LSU baseball had its most successful season since winning the national championship in 2009 and Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says the pieces are in place to make it to Omaha again next year. Moran says the biggest question is with the starting rotation as the Tigers top two starters, Alex Lange and Jared Poche, are moving on to pro ball.
This year’s College World Series set numerous multi-year total live audience viewership highs, and shattered streaming records over the course of the 10-day, 16-game event, according to LSU. The CWS Finals featuring the Tigers and Florida was the second most watched two-game finals ever, and when LSU lost in game 2, viewership peaked at more than 2.6 million people.
Saints Quarterback Drew Brees is launching a co-ed youth flag football league called Football N America that he says would be an alternative to tackle football. He says flag football is a safe, fun and friendly way to get your kids involved with the sport.
Registration begins today at PlayFNA.com.
News for Thursday 062917
By Dave Graichen
At the request of President Trump, Governor John Bel Edwards has been reappointed to the council of Governors. The Governor made the announcement earlier in the week saying it was a true honor and that he is looking forward to continuing to working alongside other dedicated governors in service to our nation. Edwards said the Republican president once called him "his favorite Democrat," though the governor admitted he didn't know whether the president was joking or not.
The RPSO is reminding people who are planning to shoot off fireworks this holiday weekend, there are a few rules you need to be aware of… Fireworks are prohibited within 25 yards of a public road or any residential sub-division. Fireworks are also prohibited within 50 yards of a church or school. Also, be sure to check with your local laws if you live INSIDE city limits.
The National Safety Council ranks Louisiana the tenth safest state in the country overall, but the state receives an F rating for workplace safety. President and CEO Deborah Hersman says the state has lots of improvement to make in this category. Louisiana earned an A grade for roadway safety and a C for home and community safety and a “C” grade when it comes to safety policies and legislation that can help reduce preventable deaths.
When is a Police Chase not worth the risk… A two-year-old is among the three dead after a car chase ended with a crash in New Orleans east. Louisiana State Police spokesperson, Trooper Melissa Matey, says state police units attempted to stop the vehicle in downtown New Orleans for a stolen license plate. Matey says the driver fled the scene and collided with a truck and ran off the road. Two people were thrown from the vehicle, including the 2-year-old. Both were killed. Matey says a third person took their own life after the crash.
The Louisiana Public Service Commission unanimously approved construction for a new Entergy plant in Westlake. Entergy spokesperson Michael Burns customer savings are expected to exceed the $872 million cost of the plant in less than a decade. Burns says the new plant will also be cleaner and more energy efficient than older natural gas-fired plants. The plant should be up and running by June of 2020
All four suspects in the brutal beating and robbery in New Orleans are behind bars. NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison says it was only a matter of time before these men were tracked down. Footage of the incident went viral, which helped law enforcement identify and locate the suspects. Police records indicate one of the victims suffered a serious brain injury. The other victim is going to be okay.
A Minden woman will spend 40 years in prison for fatally shooting her 22-year-old son while she was intoxicated. Forty-eight-year-old Dora Blake was sentenced Tuesday for shooting her son in the back of the head as he drove her home after she was kicked out of a casino.
Residents of St. John the Baptist Parish could have an increased risk of cancer, as the EPA finds the Denka Performance Elastomer plant in Laplace is releasing carcinogens into the air. Air testing found residents had been subjected to 88 times the concentration of chloroprene the EPA allows. EPA inspectors found 31 valve leaks in the plant, which did not have the proper tools to measure the chemical emissions. Denka officials could face criminal charges if the company is determined to have been negligent.
Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says he’s filed a common-sense approach to reforming the food stamp program that would impact able-bodied adults without dependents. Graves says his bill would connect SNAP recipients with job search and job training programs to help them find work opportunities. Graves says the national debt is more than $20 trillion, and a majority of that is a result of these welfare programs. He says we need to incentivize people to work, not to stay home.
News for Wednesday 062817
By Dave Graichen
The baseball season is over for LSU as they dropped game two of the College World Series Championships to Florida. The final, 6 to 1 . The win, was the first in the in the school’s history. Florida joins Michigan, Ohio State and UCLA as the only schools to have won a national championship in baseball, football and basketball.
Lawyers representing Alton Sterling’s children have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baton Rouge, it’s police department and police chief and the two white police officers involved in last summer’s fatal shooting of the black man. Attorney Chris Stewart says a culture of racial bias among Baton Rouge cops fueled the shooting
The lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed in state court. A federal investigation has already determined no criminal charges should be brought against the officers.
Jimmy D. Long Sr. School of Math, Science, and the Arts is the new official name of the Natchitoches high school, as the governor signed the bill adding the name of the late state lawmaker to the school’s title. Delhi Senator Francis Thompson authored the legislation. Thompson says there will be no expense associated with the name change. Long is one of the school’s founding fathers.
For the third year in a row, the overall graduation rate of students in Rapides Parish high schools has improved. The state department of education recently released graduation rates for 2015-16. The data shows 76.7 of parish students graduating in four years from Rapides Parish high schools. The statewide average is 77 percent.
This year’s Fourth of July gas prices are the lowest since 2005. Senior petroleum analyst Patrick Dehaan with GasBuddy.com says prices usually peak around May when refineries finish up maintenance and transition to summer grade gasoline, and we usually see a slight decline after that. The statewide average of $2.06 a gallon is well below the national average of $2.25.
Governor John Bel Edwards vetoes a bill to provide freedom of expression on college campuses. In his veto message, Edwards said the legislation by Alexandria Representative Lance Harris was a solution in search of a problem. But Harris says freedom of speech is under siege on many college campuses around the country. The bill would have created a protocol for Louisiana universities to handle controversial speakers on campus.
Governor John Bel Edwards signs into law measures aimed at keeping both motorists and police officers safe during a traffic stop. The new laws set to go into effect August 1 would require driver’s education courses to teach soon to be drivers about what to do during a traffic stop. The Governor says while police officers receive training on how to conduct the stops, it’s important for us as citizens to react appropriately as well.
Tiger fans will soon have a new brew of their own, as Louisiana’s own Community Coffee gears up to launch an LSU Blend full-bodied special dark roast coffee. Spokesperson Jodi Conachen says the Baton Rouge based company wanted to honor its roots. Conachen says the LSU Blend will be available next month.
Warrants have been issued for the final two suspects in the brutal beating in New Orleans that left one victim with acute brain injury. Two suspects have turned themselves in, and the remaining two are still at large. Police encourage the suspects to come forward.
The state will study what would happen if the legal smoking age was raised to 21. West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman authored the resolution calling for the study. He knows there will be some pushback but says former smokers will approve. The study will be completed before the start of the next legislative session.
LSU pitcher Jared Poche’s father helped save a Florida fan’s life at Game 1 of the College World Series finals. Dr. Jerry Poche says the 87-year-old man had no pulse when he was alerted by the family. Poche helped perform CPR on the man until medics arrived. The unidentified man is reportedly in good condition.
Authorities in Tangipahoa Parish believe they have found the body of the little 9-year-old girl who went missing in the river Sunday while swimming. They say Gabriell McCoy was recovered about two miles where she was last reported to have been seen. The body was taken to the Tangipahoa Parish Corner’s Office for positive identification.
The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance and the State Treasurer’s Office launch a new savings program to help people with disabilities. Tyana Dequana with LOSFA says the LA ABLE program enables people with disabilities to put money aside for future expenses. Dequana says people can save up to $14,000 a year without losing those benefits. But once the account reaches $100,000, social security payments would end until the amount goes back under that threshold. She says this comes as a relief to many with disabilities who will finally be able to do something to help themselves for the future.
News for Tuesday 062717
By Dave Graichen
The LSU tigers lost game one of the College World Series Championship Game last night by a score of 4 to 3 to Florida. Tonight, it’s win or go home.If the tigers do win, the rubber game will be played Wednesday. Airtime tonight 6:30p on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3fm
Governor John Bel Edwards sent a letter to US Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy urging them to oppose the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which is the Senate GOP health care plan. In the letter the governor says the bill would result in the loss of coverage for millions of Americans, punishes Louisiana for running a lean Medicaid program, and effectively eliminating the state’s Medicaid expansion.
The US Senate’s version of the federal healthcare bill has some worried about the future of healthcare in Louisiana. State Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee says if passed as is, the bill would result in up to 500,000 Louisianans losing their insurance. Gee says this bill also does not address one of the biggest concerns that came after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, like the rising cost of health insurance. She says the Senate’s plan will actually drive up insurance costs even more.
Students who attend seven of the nine schools that make up the University of Louisiana System will pay higher fees for school next fall. The increase will cost students an extra 108-dollars on average. But UL System President Doctor Jim Henderson says college students will pay less for their education this year, because TOPS is fully funded.
In the long-running debate over vouchers, a report issued Monday says voucher recipients in Louisiana bounced back from dismal scores initially in math and English.
The study follows an earlier review that said voucher recipients did "significantly worse" than their peers in the first year, and "slightly less negative" after year two. The latest review said that, after three years in the program, voucher recipients were performing roughly the same as their public school peers in math and English/language arts. Around 7,100 students get the aid, and 87 percent are African American students, according to the study.
Even after lawmakers passed two laws aimed at addressing the state’s opioid epidemic, experts say more can be done to solve the growing problem. East Baton Rouge Parish coroner Dr. Beau Clark says the new laws are phase one, which is to stop creating new addicts by limiting opioid prescriptions. But he says many people are already living with an addiction, and they need treatment. Clark says the challenge with treating these people is that rehabs are not funded on the state level, which is why many addicts end up in prisons. He says addiction is an illness that belongs in a medical facility, not the judicial system.
One of four suspects in a brutal New Orleans beating and robbery has been arrested. Police say 21-year-old Dejuan Paul of Kenner surrendered under suspicion of second degree robbery. NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison says two victims from Boston were in town visiting when the incident occurred on Saturday night. Authorities say they have identified the remaining suspects and encourage them to come forward.
The LSU AgCenter will use a nearly one million grant from the USDA to study what could be impacting honeybee colonies. Entomologist Kristen Healy says one possible factor is mites, because they transmit pathogens to the bees, like the deformed wing virus. Healy says it’s important to protect the bee population because one out of every three bites of food we eat relies on bees for pollination.
A New Iberia father and son have been charged with killing a Louisiana black bear. The Louisiana Black Bear was killed near Lyida in 2015. LDWF officials say through ballistic testing they were able to determine that 59-year-old Elie Dupre owned a rifle that shot the fatal bullet which killed the black bear. It was determined his 15-year-old son was present during the shooting. The father and son face a significant fine and possible jail time.
Governor John Bel Edwards has signed the bill into law that allows students in public schools to apply sunscreen themselves without a doctors note. School employees would also be able to apply sunscreen to students.
News for Monday 062617
By Dave Graichen
People close to Alexandria City Marshall Terence Grines say they are in shock over his arrest Friday afternoon on drug charges. The APD reports the 49 year old Grines was arrested around 5 p.m. near the Alexandria City Court complex. He was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, resisting an officer with force or violence, malfeasance in office and illegal carrying of a weapon. Authorities say the arrest was the result of a lengthy multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional investigation.
After an amazing weekend.. The Tigers will go for their seventh national championship and second under coach Paul Mainieri. The Tigers will play at home tonight and tomorrow in Gainesville. If a third game is needed, it’s back to Baton Rouge. Airtime tonight, 5:30 on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3 fm.
More Louisiana students are graduating high school than ever before, as the state’s graduation rate is up to 77 percent. Education Superintendent John White says that is a result of the state’s hard work to increase the number of graduates and the education levels of those grads. Over 35-hundred more students graduated this school year than in 2012.
The Alliance for Excellent Education ranks Louisiana’s education plan one of the most promising in the country. Erin Bendily with the state Department of Education says Louisiana students are just as capable as students from other states. She says that’s why their plan sets ambitious but achievable goals for students and school systems.
State Education Superintendent John White says this plan is one of the reasons Louisiana’s high school graduation rate is higher than ever at 77 percent.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has moved out of the ICU, according to an update from MedStar Washington hospital. MedStar says the Jefferson Parish Congressman remains in fair condition as he continues to recover from a gunshot wound to a hip sustained in a shootout on members of congress at a ballpark.
The LSU board of supervisors accepted a recommendation to award the medical marijuana project to Las Vegas-based GB Sciences Inc. When finalized, LSU Ag Center head Dr. Bill Richardson says it could mean $3.4 million over five years, or 10% of gross receipts, whichever is higher. LSU and Southern University are the only institutions allowed to grow cannabis in the state..
Citing opposition from Mayor Mitch Landrieu, state Attorney General Jeff Landry has quietly abandoned his much-hyped effort to fight crime in New Orleans using a special task force of state agents. The task force generated at least 16 arrests and a heap of controversy over its short lifespan. The most recent criticism came earlier this month, after the task force had been disbanded, when a federal judge said Landry’s agents had no authority to make arrests in Orleans Parish.
A Hammond man is being held on more than a $70 million dollars bond for allegedly filming sexual videos of children and posting them online. 23-year-old Nicholas Paul Duvic is charged with 300 counts of possession of child pornography, 300 counts of distribution of child pornography, one count of production of child pornography involving children under 13 years old and 24 counts of video voyeurism.
A 79-year-old former Secretary of State employee has been arrested for possession of child pornography on his state issued computer. State Trooper Michael Reichardt says the department took immediate action against Bruce Barron. Reichardt says Bruce Barron was booked into the Union Parish Correctional Center on one count of possession of child pornography involving juveniles.
They call it Vaping and now many experts say it may not be the best way to kick your cigarette habit. Josselin Carter, with Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge, says vaping can end up being a substitution for the same habit because many juices contain nicotine. Carter adds doctors aren’t sure vaping is safer than cigarettes, as there is no long-term data to support that claim. To get more information on how to quit smoking, visit SmokingCessationTrust.org
Tulane University’s Upward Bound Program has received a 2.5 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help high school students who hope to become their first in their family to go to college. Upward Bound is a program aimed at helping prospective college students academically prepare for higher education.
News for Friday 062317
By Dave Graichen
The APD announced yesterday that their top man, Chief Loren Lampert, is resigning, effective July 15th. Lampert has been Chief of Police since September of 2011. Lampert says he plans to work as an assistant district attorney in another parish. Details of that will be announced at a later time.
31-year-old Joseph Roy of Marksville was arrested Wednesday night after he crashed his vehicle on Jackson Street Extension. The APD reports upon arriving at the scene of the crash officers found a syringe on the floor of the vehicle. During the on scene investigation, the officer found that the Roy had been injecting heroin while driving to work, and the effects of the drugs contributed to the crash. He was charged with second-offense DWI and a long list of drug charges.
Southern University was warned last week that it could lose its accreditation that is required for the school to offer degrees and receive federal dollars. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed Southern University on a warning list during its June board meeting. Southern received the sanction because the school missed benchmarks related to its faculty, student achievement, "institutional effectiveness," and student complaints. The university will have a year to make necessary changes.
LSU students will have to pay more out of pocket in fees to attend school this fall.
With very little discussion and no objections, the LSU Board of Supervisors approved Thursday a student-fee increase of about 2 percent across the board. Depending on the program and the school the increase will be anywhere from a $4 per credit hour “athletic fee” for LSU Alexandria students to $270 for those attending the LSU Law School to $600 per semester “student excellence” charges at the LSU Vet School. The 30,000 or so undergrads on the flagship’s Baton Rouge campus will pay $270 more.
Louisiana will get a new medical school, as the Board of Regents grants a license to New York Institute of Technology, which will be hosted on the ULM campus. ULM President Dr. Nick Bruno says the Stubbs Hall building on campus could be the new home of the med school. ULM is also the only publicly funded pharmacy school in the state.
LSU and No.1 Oregon State play today at 2pm in the College World Series. With a win, the Tigers will force an elimination game versus The Beavers on Saturday. With a loss, the 2017 LSU baseball season will come to an end. The Tigers will start All-SEC pitcher Alex Lange, who says he’s ready to go.
The 67th Annual Ruston Peach Festival begins today at noon. Ruston Lincoln Chamber of Commerce President Judy Copeland says even though the peach harvest wasn’t good this year, visitors can try a large variety of different peach flavored foods. She says all vendors are required to have a least one item on their menu with peaches.
Copeland says about 23-thousand people come to the festival each year. Uncle Kracker is the headliner for Saturday night.
The National Safety Council has launched a vehicle recall campaign to allow motorists to enter in their VIN number to determine if a there has been a manufacturer recall on the vehicle. President and CEO of the National Safety Council Deborah Hersman says Louisiana has the third highest rate of open recalls in the country, with one in four vehicles on the road in Louisiana have an open recall.
The Louisiana Nursing Home Association announces 18 facilities in the state have been chosen as a recipient for the Bronze-Commitment to Quality Award. This achievement spotlights providers who have demonstrated commitment to quality care for seniors.
The 18 facilities that received the achievement are located throughout the state from Bossier City to Houma.
Angola inmate John Floyd has been set free after spending 36 years behind bars after a U.S. District Court judge tossed his life in prison conviction. Judge Sarah Vance believed there was evidence that Floyd was wrongly convicted in the 1980 murder of William Hines, a proofreader with the Times- Picayune.
News for Wednesday 062117
By Dave Graichen
The APD reports a car hit the Public Safety Complex building Tuesday morning, putting a rather large hole in the side.. Police believe the 81-year-old woman driving the vehicle hit the gas instead of the brake. Causing her car jumped the curb and strike the building. The woman received injuries and was taken to a local hospital. No on in the building was injured.
Flash flood watches are in effect across Central Louisiana through Thursday night as Tropical Storm Cindy is expected to make landfall in the next two days. State Climatologist Barry Keim says storm surge could be an issue in coastal areas and there is a possibility of tornados. But he says rain and potential flash flooding will be the biggest problem.
The National Weather Service's office in Lake Charles is forecasting 2-3 inches of rain in the Alexandria area through Thursday, as well as higher-than-normal wind gusts.
Parts of Central Louisiana to the west of Alexandria should see somewhat heavier rain. CLECO is urging residents to be prepared. The Utility says they will have crews on standby to restore power if the need arises.
Governor John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law that prevents public schools from physically punishing students with developmental disabilities. Senate Education Chairman Blade Morrish says this allows the administration to take a step back and realize certain students are not allowed to receive corporal punishments. 38 out of 69 public school districts in the state permit paddling or spanking.
The Department of Education announces new applicants will be placed on a waiting list starting July 1st as the demand for state childcare assistance rises. Assistant superintendent of early childhood development Jenna Conway says this program offers subsidies for working families to choose a childcare provider. The program grew exponentially when the DOE lowered the work threshold for families to qualify, from 30 to 20 hours a week, and the lack of funding keeps them from accommodating everyone.
A survey by the Society for Human Research Management finds one third companies are willing to provide employees with better benefits in order to attract more talented workers. University of New Orleans Business Professor Mark Rosa says this can be a more beneficial way to entice people over an increase in salary. Rosa says 401K’s and many company benefits went away during the recession but now those are coming back. He says businesses are adding even more benefits as they are trying to attract the right employees.
There is a new law that allows the state Office of Tourism to sell naming rights or grant leases for state parks to add new attractions. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says the state parks have always been a burden on taxpayers that never brought in any money. But he says this new law should change that and allow them to upgrade park attractions. Nungesser says they’ll ensure that whatever businesses they bring in to these partnerships does not compete with local business.
St. Tammany Parish authorities say a suspected murderer is behind bars after he was found walking down a wooded area of I-59. 40-year-old Jason Magee III is wanted in the death of his ex-wife and her boyfriend, who were fatally shot at home Monday evening. Police say the investigation into the deadly shooting is ongoing.
LSU faces Florida State again tonight in the College World Series. This time the loser will be eliminated. The Tigers defeated the Seminoles 5-4 in the opening round of the College World Series. In two games in Omaha, the Tigers have driven in just four runs.
News for Tuesday 062017
By Dave Graichen
State Police report an Olla man died Monday morning after his vehicle crossed the center line and hit a loaded log truck. 29 year old Nick Harris died at the scene of the wreck on La. Highway 8 in Fishville.
State officials are preparing for potential flooding as Tropical Storm Cindy moves towards the southwestern coast of Louisiana. Mike Steele with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says heavy rains and potential flash flooding are the biggest threat. The National Weather Service is calling for three to six inches of rain across much of the state, with some areas a foot of rain. Steele encourages the public to prepare for the coming storm now.
Wounded Congressman Steve Scalise was elected US House Majority Whip three years ago, and experts say that no matter his condition the lawmaker from Jefferson Parish still has a bright political future. Analyst Clancy DuBos says Scalise is a classic Louisiana politician in the best and highest sense. Dr’s report the congressman’s condition continues to improve.
Governor John Bel Edwards says he may not issue the call for a special session where lawmakers could address a looming fiscal cliff in 2018. Edwards says House Republicans did not support any of the recommendations from the tax reform task force in the regular session, nor did they propose a plan of their own. He’s skeptical anything would be accomplished in another special session. Edwards says he’s not giving up. He says he will continue to work with lawmakers to try and find common ground where a compromise can be reached.
Louisiana needs to improve the way it serves older adults and those with disabilities, according to a scorecard from AARP. Advocacy Director for AARP Louisiana, Andrew Muhl, says Louisiana has an unbalanced long term care system because Medicaid dollars tend to go towards nursing homes when many older adults want to stay at home with help from family and friends. He says as a state, we have a lot of work to do.
Louisiana is the first state in the country to ban the box on college admissions asking if a prospective student has a criminal record. Governor John Bel Edwards signed the measure into law. Research finds two out of three people with convictions stop filling out their college application after seeing this box.
The Supreme Court struck down a law in North Carolina which bans sex offenders from using social media. The law in Louisiana specifically applies to people convicted of sex crimes with children. Justices say taking Twitter, Facebook and other popular accounts away all together would prevent the user from engaging in the legitimate exercise of First Amendment rights.
The 10th annual Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off gets underway today at the Cajun Dome in Lafayette. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says this is a great way to showcase the fresh seafood of the Bayou State. He says a dozen Louisiana chefs will compete in the cook-off. This is the first year the event will be held in Acadiana, as it usually takes place in New Orleans.
Louisiana’s craft beer industry is growing rapidly. That’s according to Executive Director of the Louisiana Craft Brewers Guild, Cary Koch, who says we’re on track for more growth if the state fosters a good business environment. He says 6 new breweries opened last year, and even more are in the planning stage.
The Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office says a Springhill teen is charged with second degree murder for allegedly shooting another teen Sunday in Plain Dealing following an ongoing dispute. The suspect is identified as 19-year-old Phillip Woods, and the murdered victim is 16.
LSU fell and fell hard last night in the college world series, 13-1 to No. 1 seed Oregon State. But they are not out yet.. The Tigers will have to win two games to win now, starting with an elimination game against Florida State at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
News for Monday 061917
By Dave Graichen
The Louisiana Legislature finally passed a budget for next fiscal year. Senate Finance Chairman Eric LaFleur calls it a smart and reasonable spending plan that adequately funds the state’s biggest priorities. With the passage of the budget, the special session ended Friday afternoon. But another special session will most likely be called early next year to address the loss of over one-billion dollars in temporary taxes.
UL System President Dr. Jim Henderson calls this legislative session one of the most successful for higher ed in nearly a decade. He says he’s thrilled lawmakers approved a budget that fully funds TOPS, after failing to do so for the first time in the program’s history last academic year. The spending plan is the first in nearly a decade that did not reduce funding to higher education.
Doctors remain encouraged over the progress Jefferson Parish Congressman Steve Scalise has made over the last few days as he’s recovering from a gunshot wound to the hip. Director of Trauma at MedStar Washington Hospital Dr Jake Sava says Scalise has a long road ahead of him but is expected to be able to walk and even run again.
Louisiana’s economy is picking up as nonfarm and private sector jobs are improving. Over the month of May, nonfarm employment gained 10,500 jobs, the best one month gain since July of 2011. Private sector jobs increased by more than 9-thousand over the month. The Bayou State is among four other states with the largest percentage gains in jobs.
Louisiana officials were in a federal courtroom seeking to have a lawsuit thrown out that challenges recent laws that restrict abortions in the state. The laws extend waiting periods, ban certain procedures and restrict which doctors can perform abortions. Pro-choice organizations say the regulations interfere with the constitutional right that allows a woman to terminate her pregnancy.
It’s expected the governor will call a special session early next year so legislators can address the fiscal cliff. Alford says the governor may propose ideas recommended by a task force that studied the state’s tax code, but that doesn’t mean the legislature will agree to those proposals. A big portion of the temporary taxes that will expire next year is the additional penny put on the state sales tax last year by legislators to address a massive budget shortfall. Alford says the easiest thing for lawmakers to do is to keep the fifth sales tax penny on the books.
Attorney General Jeff Landry announces 51 people have been arrested on child exploitation charges under Operation Broken Heart. With the work of numerous police departments, sheriff’s officers and state and federal agencies these individuals from all around the state were arrested. The charges range from possession of child pornography to Solicitation of minor.
Bayou Teche Brewing has a newly expanded Arnaudville brewery. President Karlos Knott says they added 50-percent more floor space, including new office space and an automated keg washing system. The expansion was needed to increase sales of their year-round LA 31 beers and seasonal beers. This brewhouse, made by an Italian firm, is the first of its kind in the country.
The Beauregard Parish Police Jury hopes to transfer the statue of P.G.T. Beauregard from New Orleans to their parish. Police Jury President Rusty Williamson says it’s the right place for the monument to be, given the fact that the parish is named after the Confederate General. Members of the Beauregard Community Coalition do not support moving the statue to Beauregard Parish. But Williamson says they determined bringing it to the parish was the best idea to avoid the namesake statue ending up in the trash. He says there are a variety of places to erect the statue other than the courthouse.
Something has to give in tonight’s College World Series winner’s bracket matchup between LSU and Oregon State. The Tigers have won 17 in a row, while the Beavers have won 22 straight. Both teams rallied from behind to win in the opening round of the C-W-S and Coach Paul Mainieri says expects another hard fought battle tonight.
First pitch is scheduled for 6p tonight on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3fm.
News for Friday 061617
By Dave Graichen
A day after he was shot in the hip by a lone gunman who fired into a crowd of Republican lawmakers, U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise remained in critical condition Thursday evening after undergoing another lengthy third surgery, this one aimed at repairing a broken bone and other internal injuries caused by the bullet. The MedStar Washington Hospital Center reported last night The Metairie congressman, who serves as House majority whip, “has improved in the last 24 hours”. They say the Congressman will require additional operations and will be in the hospital for some time.
New Orleans Congressman Cedric Richmond says it is time to ramp up security for federal lawmakers, after a shootout at a baseball park in Virginia left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise seriously injured. Richmond says in these polarizing times, Congressional leaders need to be aware of the potential danger of their positions.
There’s a chance the special session could end today as a budget deal is near. The Senate Finance Committee approved the nearly 29-billion dollar spending plan yesterday, one day after the House approved it. So if the full senate passes the budget today without any changes, it will go the governor for him to sign it.
An extensive criminal justice reform package approved by the legislature is now law as the bills associated with the overhaul were signed by Governor John Bel Edwards Thursday. Edwards says many of these measures were successful in other states when it came to reducing the prison population. The bills signed into law will lead to shorter sentences for many non-violent offenders and expanded rehabilitation programs.
The LSU AgCenter selects a vendor for the medical marijuana program. AgCenter Chancellor Dr. Bill Richardson says this is the last major hurdle to getting the drug into the hands of those who need it. He says the details of the agreement have not been released, but the plan is to contract with a biopharmaceutical research company from Las Vegas called GB Sciences. Richardson says the Board of Supervisors will act on the plan at their June 22 meeting. He says they hope to have the product available to the patients by early 2018.
I will be a busy red snapper season for Louisiana anglers. Under an agreement with the federal government, fisherman will get 39 days, beginning today until September 4th,to fish for red snapper in federal waters on weekends. Recreational anglers will be permitted to start fishing 200 miles off the coast of Louisiana for red snapper every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through September 4th, also included are July 3rd and 4th and Labor Day.
State Police say a trooper is under arrest for allegedly using excessive force when taking someone into custody in New Orleans. They say Trooper John Neal is accused of kicking the suspect and bashing his head into a window while the suspect was handcuffed. Neal has been on forced leave since the February incident and is booked with on one count of simple battery.
The LSU Baseball team arrived in Omaha yesterday ahead of College World Series play that begins against Florida State on Saturday night. If the Tigers win it all, it would be the school’s seventh national championship, but head Coach Paul Mainieri says they will take it one game at a time. Mainieri told his players it’s been a great season regardless of what happens in the CWS.
News for Thursday 061517
By Dave Graichen
New Orleans area Congressman and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is recovering after surgery after he was shot in the hip while at practice for a charity baseball game yesterday. The Illinois man identified as the shooter belonged to a Facebook group called “Terminate the Republican Party.” 5th district congressman Ralph Abraham said yesterday, it’s a sad day in America. The gunman was killed by Capitol police officers. St. Landry Parish Congressman Clay Higgins says that’s just fine with him and he wishes his colleague a full and speedy recovery.
President Donald Trump spoke at the White House about the shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise. The two have developed a close relationship as Scalise has been a huge ally in the U.S. House in the President’s attempt to overhaul health care and reform the nation’s tax code. Mr. Trump says he has offered full and complete support to the Scalise family.
Legislators have taken a significant step towards ending the budget impasse and the special session. On a 56-44 vote, the House has approved a budget that allocates 100-percent of the available money. A large contingent of House Republicans wanted to withhold at least 100-million dollars, because the state constantly has midyear revenue shortfalls. But New Orleans Representative Walt Leger said if the state didn’t allocate all of the available dollars, cuts will occur to areas of the budget that could least afford it. The 28-billion dollar budget proposal will be heard in the Senate finance committee today, and it has the support of the Governor.
A Marksville man threw his girlfriend under the bus, so to speak, after the pair paid for fast food, at a North Blvd. restaurant, with a counterfeit $100 bill. The fake bill was immediately reported to the APD who responded to the scene and found the couple still in the restaurant’s parking lot. The man inside the truck, 26-year-old Chancey Johnson, denied knowing the bill was fake, telling officers he got it from his girlfriend. Both were arrested and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center.
A new law that limits first time opioid prescriptions may not address Louisiana’s opioid epidemic as much as we hoped. St. Tammany Coroner Charles Preston says according to numbers he’s seen; only four to 13 percent of patients will misuse their opioid prescription, and four percent of those will go on to use harder drugs. He says that means less than one percent of those who receive opioid prescriptions will abuse drugs.
Preston says this new law is a positive step. But he hopes it doesn’t cloud the importance of funding addiction treatment programs.
State Police say a Baton Rouge Police officer shot and killed a passenger who allegedly got out of a vehicle during a traffic stop with a gun last Tuesday night. The investigation is ongoing. The deceased is identified as 35-year-old Jordan Frazier.
Tulane researchers have found Louisiana is sinking at a rate of just over one third of an inch per year, which is 50-percent faster than what was estimated two years ago. Geology professor and co-author of the report, Tor Tornqvist, says we’ve always known the state is sinking, but they developed a map of coastal Louisiana to determine how rapidly it’s going underwater and where. He says this research should alarm all residents about future of Louisiana’s coastline.
Good news for Baton Rouge area motorists, as the state Department of Transportation announces plans to widen Interstate 10 from four to six lanes in East Baton Rouge and Ascension Parishes. The project also includes the replacement of the LA 42 overpass. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says construction will begin early next year. The $72 million project is funded through a combination of state and federal funds.
The LSU Tigers leave for Omaha this morning. It’s their first trip to the College World Series since 2015. LSU pitcher Alex Lange will start versus Florida State on Saturday night. Lange says everyone is excited about the opportunity to win the school’s seventh national championship. Saturday Airtime for the game is 6:30 on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3
News for Wednesday 061417
By Dave Graichen
Allen Parish Sheriff’s deputies have located the body of a 12-year-old who possibly drowned in the Calcasieu River Sunday evening. Authorities believe the child tried to swim across the river, went into distress and went under.
A Pollock firefighter has been accused of making more than $11,000 in purchases for herself with the department's credit card. 39 year old Christy was charged by the Grant Parish Sheriff's Office with unauthorized use of an access card and malfeasance in office.
The House Appropriations Committee approved a 28-billion dollar budget that spends more than what they proposed in the regular session, but still less than what the Senate and governor wanted. Chairman Cameron Henry says the new proposal represents nearly 99 percent of the state income forecast. Under the latest proposal, $100 million would be left on the table as opposed to $206 million. The full house will debate the budget today.
Governor John Bel Edwards says the House’s idea to withhold money from the budget in case of a shortfall is not a responsible approach. He says any money not appropriated cannot be spent later. Edwards adds that money can also not be used in the event of a natural disaster like a hurricane or flood.
Col. Kevin Reeves has been named as the permanent superintendent of Louisiana State Police, after serving as interim since March. Reeves says he remains committed to the public. Reeves began his career with State Police as a motorcycle trooper in 1990.
The Agenda for Children ranks Louisiana 48th in the country for overall child wellbeing in their KIDS COUNT report. KIDS COUNT Coordinator Theresa Falgoust says Louisiana made strides in some key areas, like more parents having high school diplomas and full-time jobs, fewer babies born with low birthweights, and other areas.
Falgoust adds 96 percent of Louisiana children now have health insurance and that’s a major improvement.
Governor John Bel Edwards has announced the replacement for former Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle on the LSU Board of Supervisors. In a statement, the governor says Mary Werner will take over the vacated seat for the remainder of the term representing the 3rd Congressional District. Angelle left his role as public service commissioner after he was named director of the U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
Although increasing slightly nationally, gas prices are dropping in 30 states and Louisiana is one of those seeing a decline in prices at the pump. That’s according to AAA spokesperson Don Redman, who says prices are slightly lower than at this time last year. The statewide average of $2.14 a gallon is well below the forecast for June of $2.40 a gallon. Redman says how low it will go is hard to predict. He says we’re seeing higher demand like we typically do for summer, but refineries have kept up with the demand.
A suspect has died following an officer involved shooting in St. Martin Parish. Authorities say deputies attempted to serve a warrant on a suspect, when the male subject pulled a gun. Shots were fired at the suspect, and he was transported to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Three people have been arrested for allegedly sneaking drugs into Angola after police received a tip about a package containing what is believed to be marijuana and tobacco products. Police say the three Morgan City suspects are charged with criminal conspiracy to introduce contraband into a penal facility. Officals say the investigation is ongoing and more arrests could be made.
The Department of Children and Family Services encourages Louisiana residents to pre-register for disaster food stamps in preparation for hurricane season. Kim Matherne with DCFS says pre-registering gets your information in the system and makes things move smoother following a disaster. She says people can pre-register at dcfs.la.gov
The pairings and game times for the first two days of the College World Series have been announced. LSU will take on Florida in the second game in Omaha on Saturday at 7pm. The first game that day is scheduled to begin at 2pm, and will feature Cal St. Fullerton against No. 1 national seed Oregon St.
The city of Omaha is excited LSU is back in the College World Series. Tracie McPherson with Visit Omaha says they always enjoy when Tiger fans visit because the Purple and Gold Nation love a good party. The Tigers will face Florida State on Saturday at 7pm.
Thirty-two-year-old running back Adrian Peterson says he’s ready to catch passes in the Saints offense. Peterson caught 241 passes during his 10 seasons in Minnesota and doesn’t know why people say he can’t be a pass catching running back. Peterson has nearly 12-hundred rushing yards during his Hall of Fame career and he says he’s looking forward to playing with a Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees this season.
News for Tuesday 061317
By Dave Graichen
Lawmakers are back at the state capitol trying to iron out a budget for next fiscal year. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne went before the House Appropriations Committee yesterday and said he doesn’t understand why they didn’t support the Senate’s spending plan, which would have spared cuts in many areas. But Covington Representative John Schroder says needs and wants are not relevant, but this is about what the state can afford. A budget must be approved before the special session ends, which is June 19th. Discussion of the spending plan will continue on the House floor today.
It’s been 17 years since the legislature adjourned a regular session without passing a budget, until this year of course. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne was there nearly two decades ago, as chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Dardenne says 17 years later, we’re having many of the same discussions. He says this session was their chance to implement the reform they promised, and lawmakers failed to do so.
Democratic Caucus Chairman Gene Reynolds of Minden wants to see a more balanced representation on the Republican-dominated House Appropriations and Ways and Means Committees. He believes more Democrats or even moderate Republicans could change some of the voting patterns.Reynolds says currently these committees are not structured for success.
Governor John Bel Edwards signed three bills to help with the state’s growing opioid abuse problem. One of new laws prohibits a doctor from prescribing more than a seven day supply of opioids for a first time prescription for acute pain. The two other bills signed into law creates a task force to study how to prevent opioid abuse and another requires doctors to look at a statewide prescription monitoring system to make the sure the patient is not “doctor-shopping.”
Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves files legislation aimed at providing financial relief to 2016 flood victims. Graves says he’s spoken with many flood victims who had to tap their retirement savings to rebuild their homes or replace lost items. He says his bill also provides some financial relief for extra costs associated with drawing from retirement savings prematurely. The legislation which has bi-partisan support, would help flood victims from both the March and August floods.
A Shreveport man in serious condition getting shot while driving on Interstate 20 this morning. Shreveport police corporal Marcus Hines says detectives are still searching for a shooter and a motive.
For the first time in 20 years, the legendary band U2 is coming to New Orleans. The Mercedes Benz Superdome announced on their website that an additional concert on the Joshua Tree Tour has been added to include The Big Easy on Thursday September 14th.
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approves a proposal to open the recreational red snapper fishing season in federal waters for the next 12 weekends as part of a compromise with the federal government and four other Gulf Coast states.
Louisiana fishermen are upset over the current three-day federal red snapper season.
The reason for the strict federal season is to ensure the once depleted red snapper population has time to grow.
LSU is considered one of the heavy favorites to win the College World Series. The Tigers have won 16 in a row and Coach Paul Mainieri likes his team’s chances as well. LSU will play Florida State this weekend. Top-seded Oregon State and Cal State Fullerton are the other two teams on LSU’s side of the bracket. LSU brings a 48-17 record to Omaha and they are five victories away from a national title
News for Monday 061217
By Dave Graichen
With one special session started, another one is already looming in the future. The goal of the current special is to pass a budget for the next fiscal year, but the governor says another one will be needed to implement tax reform and address a looming fiscal cliff in 2018. Over $1 billion in temporary taxes that were approved last year are set to expire in 2018.
The House convenes at 9 a.m. as lawmakers try again to pass a spending plan for next fiscal year, after failing to do so in the regular session. Governor John Bel Edwards says his recommendation is that lawmakers pick up where they left off with the conference committee report. The big debate over the budget came down to lawmakers arguing over how much, if any, of the revenue forecast to withhold in case of midyear cuts. The House wanted to hold back about $200 million, while the Senate pushed to spend more.
Democratic lawmakers are calling for a change of leadership in the House after what many call a grueling session. Some blame House Speaker Taylor Barras and Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry specifically for not approving a budget. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James says currently there is no leadership in the House.
But Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh says he absolutely disagrees with that. He says the House has the perfect leadership.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is challenging a move to charge state employee smokers a surcharge on their health insurance policies. The Louisiana Department of Justice, or DOJ, letter asks House and Senate leaders to allow the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget to intervene on efforts by the state Office of Group Benefits to impose the smoking surcharge and other changes to cover a budget shortfall. OGB oversees nine different health insurance plans for about a quarter million state workers, school teachers, public employees, retirees and their dependents.
A New Orleans Senator told a north Louisiana Representative to shut the f up on the House floor. Haughton Representative Dodie Horton says she would never disrespect her colleagues like that. She called the ordeal with Senator Karen Carter Peterson embarrassing. The Louisiana Republican Party is calling for Peterson to step down as chair of the state Democratic Party.
According to city records, it cost more than $2 million to remove the four confederate monuments in New Orleans. City officials say half of the money was from public funds, while the rest came from private donors. The city cut $90-thousand in costs to remove the Liberty Place monument, but the contractor who took three of the four statues down was out more than $200-thousand after the city refused to cover additional costs.
At least two cases of dog flu have been confirmed in Louisiana, as canine influenza is rearing its head in Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida. Dr. Phillip Cancellari says some early symptoms include coughing, running nose, and red eyes. He says the virus can look a lot like allergies, so it’s important to get your pet checked at the vet. He says typical backyard dogs probably aren’t at much risk of contracting the virus.
Livingston Sheriff Jason Ard says the evidence doesn’t “fully” support claims made by Christopher Landry that Kayla Denham tried to rob him during a home visit for sensual massage services. Landry told police he left the room and returned to find the 24-year-old sealing his wallet. That’s when he allegedly hit her in the head with a pipe and choked her. Landry is charged with second degree murder, and the investigation is ongoing.
For the 18th time in program history, the LSU Baseball team is Back Home in Omaha!
LSU scored six runs in the fifth inning to break open a close game and complete a two-game NCAA Super Regional sweep of Mississippi State, 12-4, early Monday morning at Alex Box Stadium. The Tigers will take a 16-game winning streak to the 2017 College World Series. LSU will face Florida State in its CWS opener on either Saturday or Sunday.
News for Friday 060917
By Dave Graichen
Lawmakers have entered another special session because the legislature failed to pass a spending plan for next fiscal year during the regular session. Governor John Bel Edwards says it was a failure of leadership in the House that led to this unnecessary special session because lawmakers put partisan politics ahead of the people’s business. The governor says he will keep the legislature in Baton Rouge as long as it takes to pass a budget that fully funds state services. This is the fourth special session of Edwards term, and it must end by June 19.
The US Inspector General reviewed 225 cases of suspected Medicaid fraud in Louisiana, and the state had a 100% compliance rate. That’s according to Chief of Staff with the Louisiana Department of Health, Andrew Tuozzolo. He credits the use of state-of-the-art software to look for potentially fraudulent billing practices. Louisiana is one of only four states to pass this audit since 2014.
Murderers convicted as juveniles will be eligible for parole after 25 years, as a bill by Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor wins final passage. The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that juveniles could not be sentenced to life in prison without the chance for parole. Crowley Representative John Stefanski says without this bill, Louisiana could be subject to litigation for not complying with federal law. The measure finally passed on a 67 to 34 vote. It’s one of the 10 bills that are part of the governor’s criminal justice reform effort.
More charges have been filed against the Baton Rouge man accused of running over and killing a 12-year-old boy during a police chase. State Police had already charged Joshual Hilton with manslaughter for running over the child, but BRPD has just released its report on the initial investigation of the suspect. Those findings lead to additional charges of obstruction and possession and distribution of drugs. Bond is now $307,500.
More mosquitos are possible as a result of all of the rain that has fallen across the state over the last week. LSU Ag Center Entomologist Kristen Healy says while we haven’t seen local transmission of the Zika Virus yet, that’s still a possibility. Healy recommends taking the proper precautions from getting bitten by a mosquito.
In case you didn’t hear, there were no jackpot winners in Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing. That rises the estimated prize to $435 million dollars for tomorrow night’s drawing.
A report from Time Magazine finds New Orleans is one of the top five metro areas in the country for millennials to live. Demographer Greg Rigamer says it’s obvious that when you’re in the Crescent City the main age group is 25 to 34 and many businesses target that demographic. The survey from Urban Land Institute finds the city saw a nearly 9-percent increase in millennials from 2010 to 2015.
News for Thursday 060817
By Dave Graichen
A partially blind Boyce man, who had been reported missing Tuesday by his family, has been found in a wooded area near St. Clair Road, says the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office. The RPSO says 48 year old Charles Pickering suffered minor injuries and exposure, but should be fine. Family members thanked authorities and the media for helping to find Pickering.
With the school year just ending, the shuffling of school principals were announced by the school board yesterday. Catherine Lewis is the new principal at Horseshoe Drive Elementary in Alexandria. She replaces Denise Cater, who retired at the end of the year. Lewis was an assistant principal at Martin Park Elementary. Northwood High in Lena and Carter C. Raymond Elementary in Lecompte, are swapping principals. Kelli Welch will take over at Northwood for Jill Summers who became principal at the school in 2015. Summers will go to Carter C. Raymond where Welch has been principal since 2008.
The 2017 regular session comes to a close today, and Capitol observers say not much was accomplished. Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin says the state has been dealing with budget deficits for the last decade, and this was supposed to be the year to address the problem. But, that didn’t happen. Erwin says a special session is imminent to address a looming fiscal cliff. The House plan calls for cuts to health care, public colleges, state prisons and child welfare.
Budget negotiations continue at the Capitol, but the House and Senate say they plan to fully fund TOPS next fiscal year. Higher Ed Commissioner Joe Rallo says education leaders are still holding their breath until the session ends this evening. He says funding TOPS gives students some certainty, but its possible scholarship recipients will pay some money towards tuition costs. Rallo says all of the uncertainty surrounding TOPS and higher ed funding in Louisiana could impact enrollment numbers. He says other states like Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama are trying to recruit Louisiana students.
Former-FBI Director James Comey is slated to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee today on his role in the investigation into possible Russian hacking in the presidential election. US Senator John Kennedy says he’s anxious to hear what Comey has to say. President Donald Trump fired Comey last month, amid the investigation that alleges Russia hacked into Democratic Party emails, which may have helped Mr. Trump win the election. Kennedy says we have to get to the bottom of what Russia did during the election.
The Eunice Police Department says they’ve arrested a teenager in a bizarre series of criminal acts including a 7-year-old passerby being shot and injured. Chief Randy Fontenot says the first shooting happened around 8pm Tuesday when 17-year-old Jamie Ned allegedly shot at a car. When combined with a later shooting, Ned is charged with five counts of attempted first-degree-murder.
The Livingston Parish Coroner has released the autopsy findings for the massage therapist found dead in a vacant building in Livingston Parish. 24-year-old Kayla Ann Denham reportedly died of blunt force trauma to the head associated with strangulation. Bond has been upgraded to $250-thousand for 22-year-old Christopher Landry, who is charged with second degree murder in connection with Dunham’s death.
Congressman Clay Higgins stands by his Facebook post that said “every conceivable measure” should be used to hunt down and kill anyone suspected of being an Islamic radical. Suspected seems to be the word that has upset many people. Some saying statements like that from elected officials could be used as propaganda by terrorists to fuel radicalization.
Three Jennings men have been arrested for allegedly shooting alligators from the bed of a pickup truck. Adam Einck with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says the three were cited for illegally hunting gators, among other things. The men were also cited for taking frogs using illegal methods, as they were shooting the frogs as well. Einck says one of the men posted a video of the incident on Facebook. He says LDWF agents were informed about the post and made contact with the suspects.
Colleges would be prohibited from asking students about their criminal history when filling out an application under legislation heading to the governor’s desk. Executive Director of Operation Restoration Syrita Steib-Martin spent nine years in prison on a theft charge. Once released, she applied to the University of New Orleans where she checked the felon box on her application. She was turned down for admission.
Martin says a few years later, she applied to UNO again with exact same information and was admitted because she did not check the box on her application. She says education plays a big factor in an individual’s success after being released from prison.
News for Wednesday 060717
By Dave Graichen
A Grant Parish caregiver is behind bars after allegedly stealing $37-thousand from one of her cancer patients. Police say 42-year-old Jennifer Lintzen of Colfax is charged with unauthorized use of an access card, forgery, theft, and exploitation of the infirmed.
Drug felons will soon be eligible to receive food stamps upon their release from jail. In the 90s, offenders with drug related charges were barred from the program for one year after their release. The bill by New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno lifts that ban. LSU School of Public Health criminologist Dr. Peter Scharf says this gives newly released inmates the chance to get back on their feet, which means they are less likely to return to prison.
A bill heading to the governor’s desk provides parole eligibility for murderers convicted in the 70s. Houma Representative Tanner Magee says when these people were sentenced, they had parole eligibility, but the legislature later removed it. He says this bill simply rights that wrong. The bill would affect around 160 inmates serving life sentences.
A 22-year-old has been arrested after the body of a missing massage therapist was discovered in a vacant building in Denham Springs. Livingston Sheriff Jason Ard says 24-year-old Kayla Ann Denham never returned home after meeting Christopher Landry at his residence for a massage. He says this was the first time the two had met.
Former U.S. Senator David Vitter has joined a New Orleans law firm. Butler Snow says Vitter will practice in the firm’s business department and focus on business and economic development in the energy sector. Vitter will also continue his work with the lobbyist group Mercury Public Affairs.
Disabled students will no longer be subjected to paddling in public schools, thanks to a bill that won final passage in the legislature. Allison Badgerow testified in support, saying her autistic son is thriving in school after switching to a school district that does not allow spanking. She says her son was showing violent tendencies in a school where physical punishment is allowed.
And the legislature has passed legislation that says students can bring sunscreen to school and apply it themselves without a doctor’s note. Seven other states have approved similar legislation.
U.S. Senator John Kennedy is backing legislation in Congress to support small breweries in Louisiana by reducing their federal excise taxes. Kennedy says the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act of 2017 helps to grow jobs and the economy by creating a fair and comprehensive tax structure for small independent brewers. Kennedy, who is a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, says there are over 52-hundred breweries in the U.S. and if the bill passes it would create 9-thousand jobs in the first year.
The sister of the missing 18-year-old from Lafayette is pleading for answers in the case of their beloved family member known as “Daisy Lynn.” Jacqueline Landry left home with a friend on May 23rd and has not been heard from since. Her oldest sister, Lori Sonnier, says they’d do anything to have Daisy Lynn back home. Twenty-two-year-old Malik Davis of Lafayette has been charged with second degree murder in connection with Daisy Lynn’s disappearance. But Sonnier says they still don’t have any answers or closure.
A state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist says they are receiving an increase in calls from the public who are concerned about foxes near their home. Melissa Collins says it is normal to see foxes in urban areas. Collins says it’s unlikely they will attack humans and they tend to stay away from pets. She says do not to feed them, because many times that tempts them to stay close to your home.
It will be LSU versus Mississippi State in the Super Regionals and it will get underway Saturday night at 8 PM. The Bulldogs advanced out of the Hattiesburg Regional by beating Southern Miss twice yesterday. The Tigers and Bulldogs met in the final weekend of the regular season in Starkville and LSU swept them to win a share of the SEC Regular season championship.
News for Tuesday 060617
By Dave Graichen
The legislative session concludes Thursday night and zero tax reform bills designed to help stabilize Louisiana’s budget will make it to the governor’s desk. That means another special session could happen again next year to address what would be a one-billion dollar budget deficit. But Baton Rouge Representative Barry Ivey doesn’t see any real tax changes coming in a special session either. Ivey had several bills in this session to change the state’s tax structure. All were shot down.
Three significant bills that are part of the governor’s plan to reform the state’s criminal justice system received approval in the House yesterday. The proposals would reduce sentences for mostly non-violent offenders and expand probation and parole opportunities for some offenders.
A proposal to change the name of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts nears final passage. The Natchitoches school would be named Jimmy D. Long Sr. Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts in honor of the late state lawmaker. The bill was amended to allow the original name on diplomas and transcripts.
The measure passed the House, but there are still plenty of alumni who oppose the bill.
A measure that suspends child support payments for individuals incarcerated for over 180 days nears final legislative passage as the bill heads to the House for approval of Senate changes. Metairie Senator Danny Martiny is a co-author and says it’s virtually impossible for a parent behind bars to pay child support. Alexandria Senator Jay Luneau supports the measure saying this gives an incarcerated parent the time to build up funds to actually pay child support. The bill is one of 10 different proposals that make up with governor’s criminal justice reform package.
The Pineville PD reports the arrest of an Alexandria man, who according to police, blocked a woman's vehicle, climbed inside and stole it while two children were inside. The incident occurred Saturday afternoon. Police arrested Malvin Torres-Carrero and charged him with disturbing the peace, simple obstruction of a roadway, false imprisonment, domestic abuse, child endangerment and carjacking.
He remains in the Rapides Parish Detention Center on a $50,000 bond.
A report from Credit Suisse (s uu – EE s) finds at least one in five U.S. shopping malls will go out of business within the next five years, because of the growth in online sales. LSU Marketing Professor Dr. Dan Rice says attracting shoppers to physical stores is still possible, as retail sales are higher than ever. Credit Suisse estimates 86-hundred stores will close by December.
Search crews are out in full force looking for Jacquelyn “Daisy Lynn” Landry, the 18-year-old girl from Lafayette who was last seen on May 23rd. Acadian Search and Rescue Director Jeffery Istre says they are encouraging the public to spread the word far and wide. Twenty-two-year-old Malik Davis has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with her disappearance.
Congressman Clay Higgins is coming under fire for controversial statements the former Cajun John Wayne made on Facebook. Higgins suggested that anyone suspected of being an Islamic radical should be killed.
Testing on a water sample from puddles on Bourbon Street finds more than just spilled Hurricanes and Hand Grenades. Milwaukee-based Microbe Detectives finds traces of fecal-related bacteria. Another words poop.. but, it appears, for the most part, the nasty stuff is from the police horses used to patrol the area.. While no pathogens were found, officials are still advises people not to drink the so-called Bourbon Gumbo street water. Was that ever an issue??
News for Monday 060517
By Dave Graichen
The investigation continues into a traffic accident that claimed the life of a Montgomery man late Saturday night.. State police report a vehicle being driven by 22 year old Jacob Kuhlman was traveling at a high rate of speed on US Hwy 71 north of Montgomery, when it appears Kuhlman lost control of the vehicle and left the roadway, striking some trees. Kuhlman was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Kuhlman was not wearing a seatbelt.
The regular legislative session ends Thursday at 6 p.m. and lawmakers are optimistic a special session will not be needed 30 minutes later. LaPolitics.com publisher Jeremy Alford says to avoid a fourth special session since Governor John Bel Edwards took office, the legislature will need to approve a budget for next fiscal year and a financing bill for construction projects. The Senate approved a budget on Saturday, but it differs from what the House has approved. The Senate’s proposal spends more money in an effort to avoid cuts to various state agencies.
The current legislative session has not addressed tax reform or the loss of one-point-three billion dollars in temporary taxes next year and the Daily Advertiser blames House Speaker Taylor Barras. The Lafayette newspaper is calling for him to step down as Speaker. But conservatives in the House say Barras has shown great leadership.
Today the House takes up three Senate bills aimed at implementing criminal justice reform lawmakers promised to deliver during the session. The measures would provide parole eligibility for more prisoners and reduce sentences for first-time offenders. Metairie Senator Danny Martiny says he understands it’s a hard vote because everyone wants to be tough on crime. Louisiana currently has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
They are calling it Traffic stop educate. Two bills that would require driver’s ed teachers to tell student drivers how to conduct themselves if they are pulled are waiting for the governor’s signature.
Covington Representative Paul Hollis is upset his bill to make it easier to recall elected officials died without a fair hearing. Hollis says he only had 7 minutes to present his measure in committee after the controversial confederate monuments bill. Hollis plans to bring the measure back up next year.
A bill to revamp the film tax credit program has received final legislative passage. The measure makes it easier for film makers to redeem these credits. Proponents say that would help grow the industry. There will be a 180-million dollar limit on the amount tax credits that will be handed out for TV and movie productions.
The Louisiana legislature approved the 2017 Coastal Master Plan and now implementation can begin. Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana Spokesperson Jimmy Frederick says thanks to bi-partisan support this plan was developed with the best science available to help preserve Louisiana’s coast. Frederick says between 640 to 800 million dollars a year is expected to be spent on coastal restoration projects for the next four years,
Inmates would get a break on their child support payments while incarcerated under a House-approved measure. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James says it’s hard for inmates to walk out of jail and find a job, and this will give them a chance to get financially stable. The proposal still needs Senate approval, and the legislative session ends Thursday.
Drivers could soon have warnings if speed enforcement cameras are in place. A bill waiting on the Governor’s signature requires signs to be posted several hundred feet ahead of speed cameras, or the ticket is void. Senators gave the bill unanimous final passage, and it would take effect August 1.
The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s office has announced the arrest of three people for not seeking medical attention for a child who was burned by melted wax. The child’s mother, and two others face charges after deputies responded to a report of the child unsupervised outside with severe burns on the arms and legs. The three adults are charged with cruelty of a juvenile.
LSU defeated Texas Southern, Southeastern Louisiana and then the Owls for the program’s 23rd Regional title. They’ve won 14 straight. The Tigers will find out today who they’ll play in the Super Regionals. It will be either Mississippi State or Southern Miss.
News for Wednesday 053117
By Dave Graichen
A Texas Girl Scout group needed help from federal, state and local officers after they were stranded at Saline Bayou in Natchitoches Parish. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries spokesperson Adam Einck says the group left around 4 PM Sunday afternoon and few hours into their journey, a strong thunderstorm hit and then it got dark and they were not able to get back. The group was found early Monday morning.
A vote is expected in the House today to raise the state’s gasoline tax to fund more highway construction projects. State Representative Steve Carter originally called for a 17 cent a gallon hike, but he’s willing to amend it to a 10 cent increase. State Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says lowering the proposed tax means fewer megaprojects will be completed. The Republican Party of Louisiana has asked residents to call their legislators and ask them to vote against it.
A measure to prohibit local or state government from removing military monuments, including Confederate, without a vote of the people will be heard in a Senate Committee today, but Shreveport Representative Thomas Carmody says the votes are not there for it to pass. Critics of the bill say the state shouldn’t get involved in decisions made by local elected officials.
A Senate Judiciary Committee rejected a proposal to end so-called sanctuary city policies in Louisiana. New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison spoke out against the bill saying it’s all about building trust. He says if the measure passed, it would hurt their ability to maintain public safety. Proponents says the bill would increase public safety.
Baton Rouge lawmaker Barry Ivey has ended his attempt to change the state’s tax laws. Ivey says his legislation would improve a tax structure that’s complicated and features too many loopholes. But the majority of lawmakers are not in the mood this session to pass any tax bills.
A bill to put statewide regulations on ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft is dead for the session. Jackson Representative Kenny Havard filed the bill in an effort to have standard rules, with the hope these companies would expand to smaller cities. Opposition came from New Orleans lawmakers, who were concerned the city would lose out in two-million dollars as part of existing agreements they have with Lyft and Uber.
A study out of Australia finds late night phone usage could hurt teens’ sleep quality and mental health. LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans clinical psychologist Michelle Moore is not surprised by the findings and says parents shouldn’t allow their kids to have cellphones in their rooms at night.
The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office says one of their deputies has been fired after being charged with felony third degree rape. The suspect is identified as former Deputy old Bradley Smith of Calhoun.
Alzheimer’s disease deaths have increased 55 percent in the last 15 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Medical investigator for Alzheimer’s research, Dr. Patrick Gahan with LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center says this is the most costly disease we face as a country, and it has no treatment options. He says Pennington has multiple drug trials, and they’re looking for patients over the age of 50 with a family history of Alzheimer’s to participate.
The LSU Tigers have begun preparations for this weekend’s Baton Rouge Regional. The Tigers first game is Friday at 2:30 against Texas Southern at Alex Box Stadium. The other two teams coming to Baton Rouge are Southeastern Louisiana and Rice. And if LSU wins the B-R Regional they’ll face the winner of Hattiesburg Regional, which features Southern Miss and Mississippi State.
CBS has released a partial TV schedule for the upcoming season. Once again the network plans on a doubleheader for the Saturday that LSU plays Alabama, televising one game at 2:30 and the other at 7 PM. Which means the Tigers-Crimson Tide game could be televised at 7 PM, but we won’t know for sure until October. Also, CBS says it will televise the Arkansas-Missouri match-up on the Friday after Thanksgiving, so that means it’s likely LSU-Texas A-and-M in Tiger Stadium will be November 25th
News for Tuesday 053017
By Dave Graichen
The severe weather that rolled through the area Sunday night has left two people dead. In DeSoto Parish a tree fell and hit a vehicle in which 21-year-old Demontre Lewis was a backseat passenger. An 18-year-old in Caldwell Parish was killed after a tree fell on his home. It’s reported that an estimated 27-thousand people are without power after the storm passed.
A Senate committee will hear the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill today. The House-approved measure would prohibit cities that do not fully cooperate with immigration authorities from receiving certain state grants. It took two votes for this bill to pass the lower chamber. Opponents believe it would unfairly target Hispanics. New Orleans could be impacted by this legislation, if it becomes law.
There’s 10 days left in the regular session and very little has been accomplished. Democratic Caucus Chairman Gene Reynolds of Minden says he’ll meet with Republican leaders to see what can be done in the final days. He says with only 41 votes in the House, it’s hard for Democrats to get anything through the process.
Governor John Bel Edwards and Democrats are pushing for tax reform, because 1.3 billion dollars in temporary sales taxes expire July 2018. But Republican House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says Democrats haven’t presented a plan that the legislature and the public can get on board with. It’s likely a special session will be needed to address the fiscal cliff.
A bill to change the name of the Louisiana School for Math, Science and Arts in Natchitoches has sparked a big discussion and will be heard in House Education on Wednesday. Delhi Senator Francis Thompson’s proposal would change the school’s name to Jimmy D. Long Sr. Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts. Thompson says Long helped open the school in 1983. But many LSMSA alumni oppose the name change saying the school would lose its identity, especially with prestigious colleges.
There’s a new program from Louisiana Economic Development to help military veterans start a business after returning home. Secretary Don Pierson says the idea for the Louisiana Veteran Entrepreneurship Program came after hearing LSU’s Baton Rouge campus was helping disabled veterans in a similar way. There are plans to expand the program to other regions of the state.
Pet owners will soon have more time to claim their lost pets after a natural disaster. A measure awaiting the governor’s signature gives pet parents 30 days to claim their animals following a state of emergency. Currently, local laws only gives 10 days.
An Alabama man was killed in a skydiving accident in Slidell on Sunday. St. Tammany deputies say 53-year-old Benjamin Leroy Crowell was training another person when he lost consciousness shortly after jumping out of a airplane. Witnesses say the two men hit the ground hard. The trainee was airlifted to a hospital and his condition is not known.
A note on a napkin saved a woman’s life in West Monroe. Authorities reports a woman was being held hostage by her boyfriend at a motel. She reportedly convinced 30-year-old Dennis Griffin to take her to Chili’s. While returning from the bathroom, she passed a note to her server asking for help. West Monroe Police responded immediately.
Thirteen people have been arrested and three are still at large after an insurance fraud investigation by State Police. Master Trooper Brooks David says all 16 individuals were involved in a number of fictitious crashes. David says it’s possible more arrests could be made.
The LSU Tigers are a number four national seed in the NCAA Tournament and they’ll start regional play this Friday at Alex Box Stadium against SWAC Tournament champion Texas Southern. The other two teams in the Baton Rouge regional are Southeastern Louisiana and Rice. The Lions are a number two seed with a 36-20 record. The Owls received an automatic bid after winning the Conference USA Tournament.
LSU softball is heading back to the Women’s College World Series after coming back from one game down to beat Florida State in consecutive games to win the super regional series over the Seminoles. It’s the third consecutive trip for the Tigers and the fourth with Head Coach Beth Torina at the helm. LSU will play UCLA at 1:30 in Oklahoma City on Thursday.
News for Friday 052617
By Dave Graichen
The Town Talk is reporting the city of Alexandria is alleging more improper use of funds by former employee Daniel Williams. Williams, the city's former Director of Community Services, was charged in March with using a city credit card to pay for a $3,000 personal vacation. In a lawsuit filed on behalf of the city Thursday, Williams is accused of using the card for more than $2,600 in additional improper purchases. The lawsuit alleges Williams falsified the details of purchases to make them look like city business.
NOAA is calling for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season as their forecasters predict 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes and two to four major hurricanes. Acting administrator Ben Friedman says we can’t prevent hurricanes, but we can prepare. Hurricane season begins next week.
A sales tax discount is available for hurricane preparedness items this weekend. Eligible items like batteries, storage coolers, and portable generators will be subject to only 3-percent sales tax, a 2-percent discount from the normal 5-percent state sales tax. The Department of Revenue says the exemption was put in place to encourage people to buy emergency supplies before a storm hits.
The 2017 Memorial Day travel period, which began Thursday, is at its highest level since 2005, according to AAA. Spokesman Don Redman says they project 39.9 million Americans are taking to the roads, skies, rails and water this weekend, which is a million more than last year. He says it’s attributed to an improving economy.
Students with disabilities would be protected from corporal punishment in public schools under a proposal heading to the Senate floor. The bill has already been approved by the House and received the backing of the Senate Education Committee on Thursday.
Lawmakers and the governor say it’s likely another special legislative session is necessary to solve the state’s looming 1.3 billion dollar fiscal cliff. President of the Council for a Better Louisiana Barry Erwin says there’s been very little movement in the current session to address the over one billion dollars in temporary taxes that will expire next year.
The circle of politics continues to spin at the Capitol as criminal justice reform bills have been temporarily put on hold because Republicans aren’t happy that Democrats are holding up an unrelated measure dealing with state-financed construction projects.
Concertgoers at this weekend’s Bayou Country Superfest can expect even more security after the attack at a concert in Manchester. Producer Quint Davis says safety is always the number one concern, and everyone should feel comfortable attending the event. Davis says this is the 9th annual B-C-S, but it’s the festival’s first time in the Superdome.
The author of a bill to raise the state’s gasoline tax by 17-cents continues to work on the legislation so it can receive the 70 votes necessary to get approval from the House. Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter says he is looking at a variety of options, like lowering the proposed increase. But he says not everyone is pleased with that. Many Louisianans are worried the revenue generated from the proposed tax increase would not go to improving roads or new infrastructure projects.
The House rejects a proposal to prohibit children under 12 from handling Uzis and automatic weapons. Shreveport Representative Barbara Norton authored the measure after a child in Arizona accidentally killed a gun safety instructor with an Uzi. The measure failed on a 59-21 vote.
The man accused of killing former NFL player Joe McKnight in an apparent road-rage incident was involved in a similar heated exchange while driving 10 years ago, and a judge said that can be used in court. But Legal analyst Tim Meche says the ruling to allow this as evidence is wide open for reversal on appeal. He says Ronald Gasser’s defense could even use it to their advantage. A trial date has not yet been set.
The principal at a New Orleans school has been fired after he wore Nazi symbols in a video posted online. Crescent Leadership Academy issued a statement saying Nicholas Dean will not return to his position. A video surfaced today of Dean wearing symbols associated with Nazism and white supremacy while being interviewed earlier this month at protests surrounding the removal of confederate monuments.
In LSU baseball, the Tigers shutout the University of Kentucky last night in the SEC tournament. LSU now advances to Saturday’s semifinal game. Airtime 11:30 on KSYL 970 & 100.3 HD3
News for Wednesday 052417
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria City Councilman Joe Fuller is requesting a Legislative audit of all City’s credit card purchases from the past five years. Fuller sent a letter to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor asking that the audit look into charges made at hotels and restaurants as well as other ones related to travel. Fuller, as a result of an employee's alleged misuse use of funds, says he’s concerned that the city has a credit card problem. The city maintains though its internal audit following the alleged misuse showed no cause for further concern.
The APD has arrested and charged 18-year-old Demetrice Welch with second-degree murder in connection with the death of an unidentified man whose body was found early Saturday morning in the 4600 block of West Sandy Bayou Drive in the city. Welch, who is from Alexandria, was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on Tuesday.
Today lawmakers in the House are expected to debate raising the state’s gasoline tax for the first time in 27 years. A proposal by Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter would up the tax by 17 cents a gallon. President of the Council for a Better Louisiana, Barry Erwin says more revenue is needed to pay for better roads.
Vice President Mike Pence will be in the state today to discuss health care, jobs and the economy. The White House says the Vice President will participate in a listening session with local business leaders in the Baton Rouge area and he’ll make remarks afterwards at Cajun Industries in Port Allen. The governor’s office says John Bel Edwards plans on meeting with the Vice President at the Baton Rouge airport.
President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would end oil lease royalty payments to Louisiana before they even begin. The proposal repeals the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which splits offshore revenue among Gulf States. Managing Director with the America’s Wetland Foundation, Val Marmillion says Louisiana stands to lose a lot of money if the act is repealed. Gulf States would lose a total of $3.6 billion over the next decade. US Senator Bill Cassidy released a statement saying that taking this funding away from Louisiana’s coastline is a nonstarter.
A Senate Judiciary committee voted to raise the fees for individuals on probation and parole in Louisiana to increase salaries for parole officers. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris’ measure would up the fee by 37-dollars to 100 dollars. Harris hopes this would be an incentive for parole officers to stay in their position.
The bill that would require students starting 9th grade this fall to have at least a 2.75 GPA in order to receive the TOPS scholarship advanced on the House floor. The current requirement is 2.5. A concern about this bill by opponents was that it would cut out poor kids who need help paying for college the most. The bill heads to the Senate on a 53-32 vote.
A bill that would include dating partners in Louisiana’s domestic violence laws advances in a Senate committee. Baton Rouge Senator Bodi White raised concerns about situations that could arise, like a boyfriend pushing his drunk girlfriend into the car after a night out. The measure was sent to the Senate floor without objection.
The House Health and Welfare Committee approves a proposal to require parents of minors seeking an abortion to show a photo ID at the clinic. Currently minors only need a notarized statement from a legal guardian. The Senate-approved bill adding the picture identification requirement now heads to the full House for consideration.
Authorities in Lafourche Parish are looking for a man accused of living in the attic of his ex-girlfriend to stalk her. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Brennan Matherne says 21-year-old Taylor Broussard has nine active warrants for several felony crimes including stalking, auto theft, battery, and aggravated assault.
The full House will vote on a Senate approved measure that would give drivers a warning before an upcoming speed camera. New Orleans Senator Troy Carter says local municipalities shouldn’t have a problem with this if they argue that the devices are meant to deter speeding. Carter’s bill has been approved by the Senate and awaits final passage on the House floor.
Authorities are investigating the death of an 8-month-old in Baton Rouge. The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner says the infant died of blunt force trauma to her abdomen. Police say no charges have been filed at this time, but the investigation is ongoing.
Freshman right-hander Todd Peterson will start on the mound today as the LSU Tigers begin play in the SEC Tournament. Peterson will make his fourth start of the season. Airtime set for 12:30 on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3fm
McNeese State heads into the Southland Conference Tournament in Sugar Land, Texas as the top seed after winning the league’s regular season championship. The Pokes will take on Lamar today after taking two of three from the Cardinals last week.
News for Thursday 052517
By Dave Graichen
With only two weeks left in the legislative session, lawmakers are not close to agreeing on a budget for next fiscal year and addressing the loss of over a billion dollars in temporary taxes set to expire in July 2018. That’s according to Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com. Alford says the majority in the House despise creating new taxes to solve a looming budget deficit, while the majority in the Senate and the governor believe that is the solution. He says there is no clear path for where this session will end.
On the House floor Thursday, democrats mustered enough votes to prevent the passage of a construction financing bill in the hopes that it will lead to serious negotiations on tax reform.
As expected, the Senate Finance committee rejected a proposal to increase Louisiana’s minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $8.50 an hour by 2019. Republicans on the panel raised concerns about how this legislation could lead to layoffs, while Democrats say $7.25 is not a living wage. The author of the bill says he’ll bring the bill back next year. Governor Edwards issued a statement expressing his disappointment by saying the Legislature had the opportunity to actively value families, but it failed.
House debate on a 17-cent gas tax hike proposal has been delayed until next week. Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter told NOLA.com he’s a considering a change to the legislation so that the gasoline tax would gradually increase.
Vice President Mike Pence echoed many of President Donald Trump’s campaign promises when he told a crowd in Port Allen yesterday the administration will make America prosperous again. He says the president’s leadership is already making a remarkable difference in the economy. He says businesses are responding to the president’s call to buy American and hire American. Pence also says it remains the President’s priority to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Governor John Bel Edwards is calling on the Louisiana congressional delegation to oppose President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins October 1. The governor’s communications director Richard Carbo says they’re disappointed the budget repeals the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which entitles Louisiana to a portion of offshore drilling revenue for oil leases. Carbo says they understand the need to balance the budget, but this spending plan does it in a way that’s harmful to Louisiana and its citizens.
The Senate Education Committee will discuss today whether a task force should be formed to study how to ensure the TOPS scholarship program’s long-term liability. Senate Education Chairman Blade Morrish says the taxpayer funded program has not been examined since it was created over 20 years ago. Morrish says the task force’s findings will provide good information for lawmakers when they consider proposed changes to the scholarship program in the future.
More people may have been affected by the Great Flood of 2016 than we thought, according to a recent LSU survey. Dr. Michael Henderson with the LSU Public Policy Research Lab says 18 percent of the state’s residents took on water during the March and August floods. He says 30 percent of workforce was also impacted. Henderson says respondents did not give favorable ratings to FEMA or the state government for their response to the floods.
The 7-year-old who was accidentally shot at an elementary school in Moss Bluff is doing well after undergoing surgery for a second time. The family of the first-grader says the child will remain in the PICU for a few more days. According to Calcasieu Parish authorities, the shooting occurred on May 15th when another student brought a gun to school and it accidentally went off and struck the 7-year-old.
A deadly virus is threatening Louisiana crawfish. Aquaculture specialist Mark Shirley with the LSU AgCenter says the white spot syndrome originated in shrimp ponds in Thailand and Southeast Asia in the early 1990s. Shirley says this virus can greatly affect a crawfish farmer’s income by killing off the harvest. But he says it’s not a threat to humans.
The search is over for a south Louisiana man accused of living in his ex-girlfriend’s attic, as 21-year-old Taylor Broussard is behind bars. The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office says a Larose woman reported her ex had stolen her vehicle after brandishing a knife. State troopers located the suspect in Baton Rouge Wednesday. Broussard faces 9 charges in Lafourche Parish including stalking, domestic abuse battery, vehicle theft, and home invasion.
The LSU Tigers beat Missouri 10-3 last night to faces Kentucky in the SEC winners bracket this evening. Now a reminder, it is a floating start time.. But, we should take to the air at 7:30 on KSYL 970a and 100.3 HD3.
News for Tuesday 052317
By Dave Graichen
Yesterday we told you of an investigation that was underway into the death of an 18 year old man in Alexandria early Saturday morning. But yesterday, the APD announced that another man was killed within a few hours of the first. Officers responded to a report of a vehicle crash on a parking lot in the 3500 block of Lee Street. According to the APD a 36-year-old man, had what appeared to be gunshot wounds to his abdomen and was unresponsive. The man was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Investigations into both incidents are continuing. Neither victim has been identified by police.
Lawmakers in the House are expected to take up a proposal today that would raise the minimum GPA requirement for TOPS. The measure by Baton Rouge Representative Franklin Foil increases the requirement from a 2.5 to a 2.75. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says this would knock out about 30 percent of the students currently eligible for the scholarship. Pinsonat says he doesn’t expect lawmakers to approve the measure. The governor also opposes the bill.
State Police raises concerns about proposed budget cuts to the law enforcement agency. Major Doug Cain says the House has proposed a 23-million dollar cut in funding from this fiscal year, which would force them to cut a cadet class and make it difficult to replace patrol vehicles and 60-percent of them have over 100-thousand miles on their odometer. Cain says its State Police’s hope the Senate will fund their agency to the level that the governor recommended.
A Mississippi lawmaker called for Louisiana leaders to be lynched after four confederate monuments were taken down in New Orleans. State Representative Karl Oliver also said in the Facebook post that the statues were removed in a “Nazi-ish fashion.” Courtney Carter with News Mississippi says state Republicans do not condone the public post. Oliver has since apologized for the post.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser had a meeting yesterday with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu about the future of the confederate monuments that were removed. Nungesser would like to put the monuments at a historic battlefield, but the mayor said that if the state office of tourism wants them, they’ll have to submit a financial bid. But it’s possible they could leave the state. Courtney Carter with News Mississippi says there’s been talk of rehoming them at the Beauvoir estate there. The estate is already home to many confederate-era memorials.
Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle has been chosen to head the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement in the Trump Administration. UL-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says this will give Angelle national name recognition after a disappointing loss in the gubernatorial and congressional elections.
Angelle will have to resign from the PSC, as he begins his new position on Today.
It’s been reported that Vice President Mike Pence will visit Baton Rouge on Tomorrow. The visit comes just as President Donald Trump releases the proposed budget. The Vice President is expected to meet with business leaders in a listening session. A spokesperson for the governor, John Bel Edwards, plans to meet with Pence at the airport. A location for the event has not yet been released.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser has launched a new Horse Tourism Initiative to bring visitors to Louisiana racetracks, campgrounds, therapeutic riding centers and state parks. Nungesser says Texas and Mississippi have great horse shows, but Louisiana is also home to some of the finest equestrian services in the country. Nungesser says the Louisiana is one of the top three horse producing states in the country. He plans to put a statewide circuit together to bring national and international horse competitions to the state’s world class facilities.
The LSU baseball team is in Hoover, Alabama preparing for the SEC Tournament. The Tigers will play tomorrow against the winner of today’s game between Missouri and Texas A&M. The Tigers are co-champs of the SEC Regular season. LSU heads into tournament play winners in 11 of its last 12 conference games.
Louisiana Tech is the 5th seed in the Conference USA Tournament and they’ll face Charlotte on Wednesday night at MGM Park in Biloxi.
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