KSYL Local News Archives for 2013-12

News For Monday 12/23/13


News for Monday 122313

By Dave Graichen

 

Storms rolled across the state Saturday bringing with them heavy rand and strong gusty winds. In the Monroe area, those winds escalated to tornado force, downing trees and knocking out power to thousands. Several business were damaged as well. The good news is, No injuries have been reported.

 

The Saints no longer control their own fate when it comes to winning the  NFC South. New Orleans suffered a gut wrenching 17-13 loss to Carolina Sunday.  For the Saints to win the NFC South, they'll need to beat Tampa Bay, and  the Panthers will have to lose at Atlanta next Sunday.

 

Christmas is Wednesday, and many are already on the highways – traveling  to their holiday destinations. State Police remind us that last  Christmas & New Year's holiday 12 people were killed and more than 1300  were hurt in traffic crashes.  The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission says alcohol played a role in more than half the fatal wrecks that occurred during the Christmas & New

Year's holiday period last year. The other two other factors in holiday traffic crashes are

haste and impatience. Law enforcement efforts as well as manpower have been beefed up through the end of the year.

 

Louisiana's employment picture is ending the year on a good note.  Louisiana Workforce Commission spokesperson Tom Guarisco says based on  the latest data, the state's unemployment rate is down to 6.3 percent  after holding steady at seven-percent earlier this year. Louisiana's private sector employers also added 26-thousand jobs in the  last 12 months leading up to November. Guarisco says that's 39  consecutive months  the state has experienced over-the-year gains in private sector growth.

 

Governor Jindal and State Police announce a successful conclusion to a  seven-week crackdown on crime that has netted over $6-million in illegal  drugs and over a thousand arrests. The massive statewide operation resulted in 1025 arrests for crimes  ranging from drug possession to human trafficking. Over $340-thousand in  suspected drug money was seized, 112 illegal weapons  confiscated and  thousands of pounds of marijuana was taken off the streets. The Governor credits the seamless cooperation of LSP and local lawmen.

 

An organization called "Faith Driven Consumer" has started an online  petition urging supporters of Phil Robertson to sign demanding he be  reinstated to Duck Dynasty by A&E. Founder Chris Stone says they are  looking for signatures on the website "IStandWithPhil.com", to express  citizen support for The Duck Commander. The "I Stand With Phil Robertson" Facebook page has  well over 1-million "likes" and indicates the petition already had over  300,000 signatures as of the start of the weekend.  Stone says they will hand  deliver the petitions to A&E starting today.

 

Lieutenant governor Jay Dardenne  says the “Duck Dynasty” reality TV show is important to state tourism and he could help connect the Robertson family with new producers if they cannot reach agreement with the A&E network. Dardenne authored the state’s film and TV tax credit program. He says he’d use his influence in the state’s industry to help the Robertsons.

 

In case you need to be reminded. Today is the last day before Christmas  eve, which means holiday shoppers who have been procrastinating need to  get on the ball. LSU Ag Center family economist Jeanette Tucker says  it's sometimes difficult finding that perfect gift at this late hour. However, there is a benefit to waiting to the last minute and that is  good deals.

 

 

 

 

News For Friday 12/20/13


News for Friday 122013

By Dave Graichen

 

Members of a state legislative committee argued yesterday parents of voucher students need more information to ensure that their choice of private schools is better than the public schools they fled.

The issue surfaced during a meeting of the Legislative Audit Advisory Council. The panel reviewed a report issued on Monday by the Legislative auditor’s office. That review said the state Department of Education is short on criteria to make sure schools are academically prepared to handle the voucher students they serve. Nearly 7,000 students are enrolled in the program, which was expanded to a statewide effort in 2012 under a bill pushed by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

 

Governor Bobby Jindal has issued a statement in response to the news that  A&E  has  suspended  Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty after he made  comments speaking out against  homosexuality  to  a  magazine. Jindal  says  the Robertson's are great citizens of Louisiana and he remembers when  TV  Networks  believed  in the 1st Amendment. Jindal also said it's a messed up situation when  Miley  Cyrus gets a laugh and Phil Robertson gets suspended.

 

Louisiana is on track to borrow nearly $500 million in February to replenish the fund that pays for state-backed construction projects. The State Bond Commission gave preliminary approval to the borrowing plan Thursday without objection. The plan involves selling $347 million in tax-exempt bonds and $149 million in taxable bonds to investors for upfront cash. The bond debt will be paid off over decades with interest.

 

Axiall Corp., which has manufacturing complexes in Plaquemine and Lake Charles, is considering building a $3 billion ethane cracker and ethylene derivatives plant somewhere in Louisiana, a facility that would create up to 250 new jobs. The company, which was formed earlier this year when Georgia Gulf merged with PPG’s commodity chemicals business, plans on awarding a front-end engineering and design contract for the Louisiana plant in early 2014.

 

The American Automobile Association says Year-End Holiday travel is  going to increase for the 5th straight year. AAA travel expert Don  Redman says the end of the year travel period runs from Saturday  December 21st through January 1st. He says overall nearly 30% of all  Americans will be taking a trip this Holiday.  Redman says 94.5 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from

Home.

 

Time is rapidly running out to finish your holiday gift buying. Tomorrow  is known in retail circles as "Super Saturday"; the last big weekend  shopping day before Christmas. If  you're out shopping, you'll be among a lot of fellow "Last-Minute  shoppers”

 

Deputies in Washington Parish have arrested  a  12-year-old girl for the attempted murder of her 8-month-old niece. The  Sheriff's Office acted on a call from the Department of Children & Family Services of alleged abuse of the infant. Under questioning, the girl  reportedly told  officers  she'd  grown  jealous  at  the  attention  her older sister's  baby  was getting, so she tried to kill the child with  an overdose of liquid  medication.

 

A federal judge has ruled that conditions on Death Row at the Angola State Prison are, in fact, too hot  in  warm  weather and constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Prison leaders at Angola will now have to  devise  a  way  to  cool  those  cells off. The judge  says  the temperature in the cells must never exceed  88  degrees. This is all the  result  of  a  lawsuit  filed  by three death row  inmates  who complained of dangerously hot conditions last Summer.

 

 

News For Thursday 12/19/13


News for Thursday 121913

By Dave Graichen

 

Governor Bobby Jindal along with Hayes Company CEO James  Hayes, Jr. announced  plans  for  a  $3 million expansion to their manufacturing facility in Pineville yesterday.    They  say this expansion will create about  75  new  jobs with an average salary  of  over  $45  thousand dollars a year, and another 89 indirect jobs in Central Louisiana. Hayes makes metal parts  for clients like Union Tank Car, GE and many others.

 

A hunter who was reported missing Sunday by  his  family  in Rapides Parish  was  found dead in Boyce. Authorities say 24 year old  Terry McComic's cause  of death has not yet been determined but an autopsy is planned.

 

Funeral Services will be held today for Cajun artist George Rodrigue, creator of the Blue Dog, who died from cancer last Saturday at the age  of 69.  Rodrige will be laid to rest Friday afternoon in New

Iberia.

 

Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson is off the hit A&E reality series indefinitely after disparaging gays as sinners akin to adulterers and swindlers. A&E announced Wednesday what it called a “hiatus” for the 67 year old Robertson after he disparaged gays in the January edition of GQ magazine. He also said that, growing up in Louisiana before the Civil Rights movement, he never saw any mistreatment of blacks.

 

A federal jury convicts a former BP drilling engineer on a charge of obstruction of justice which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. Federal  prosecutors proved that Kurt Mix intentionally deleted text

messages  from   his   cellphone   in  an  attempt  to  obstruct  an investigation into the 2010 BP spill. The 52 year old man from Katy, Texas faces sentencing on March 26th.

 

A 15-year-old North DeSoto High School student is in a youth detention  center in Coushatta after allegedly threatening to shoot 3 elementary  students, if they didn't hand over their lunch money. DeSoto Parish  Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle says the incident took place on a school bus. The student charged in the case disassembled a semi-automatic pistol and used a part of that weapon to make it out like he  had a gun.

 

A  north  Louisiana  child porn suspect is scheduled to make a court appearance today. Chris  Nixon  was  arrested this week at a home near  the  Jackson  Parish  town  of  Jonesboro   and  charged  with production of child pornography. Nixon  is  21  years old according to his Facebook page and a recent grad of Quitman High School.

 

Twelve-year NFL vet Shayne Graham will handle the field goal kicking for  the Saints in Sunday's big NFC South matchup with Carolina. Graham was  31-of-38 on field goals with the Houston Texans last year. He hit a  career-long 55 yard field goal in the postseason.

 

Making  it  easier  on  our Christmas budgets, the gas  price  keeps falling.  The  American  Automobile  Association  says  the  current statewide average for a gallon of regular is now $3.07.

 

New  Orleans  Police  are  investigating  the  fatal  shooting of an armored car guard Wednesday  morning, as he was unloading money at a Chase bank branch near downtown. Three men approached the armored  car and opened fire, taking money and driving away. Police found the getaway car, and are still seeking the gunmen.

 

The Houma Police  Department  say a man is under arrest after he was caught driving drunk on his way  home  from  drug  court, with his 8 year old daughter in the vehicle. They say 36 year old Robert Joseph of  Galliano  is  charged with driving while intoxicated  and  child endangerment and was  booked  into  the  Terrebonne Parish Jail. The little girl was released to a family member.

News For Wednesday 12/18/13


News for Wednesday 121813

By Dave Graichen

 

There were two winning tickets sold for last night’s drawing of the Mega Millions lottery. Officials say tickets were sold in California and Georgia. The $636 million jackpot was the second-largest lottery prize in U.S. history.

 

Thick fog played a major role in a 21-vehicle pileup on La. 1 north of Donaldsonville Tuesday morning that left one man dead and the road closed for eight hours while the vehicles were removed and investigators tried to determine what happened. A 62 year old  Plaquemine man was killed in what State Police said were three separate accidents that occurred around 5 a.m. in early morning darkness and thick fog.

 

Governor   Bobby   Jindal,   along   with   coastal   officials  and representatives  from  Louisiana's universities, announce  plans  to build a Water Campus in  Baton Rouge, on the bank of the Mississippi River.  The governor says  funding resources are in place to build a state-of-the-art center for  research into solving Louisiana coastal issues. Governor Jindal says this could create thousands of new jobs.

 

Four years after he kicked the Saints into Super Bowl XLIV and then nailed three field goals to help them win their only championship, Garrett Hartley is no longer on the team. The Saints waived Hartley on Tuesday, two days after he had a 36-yard field goal blocked and then missed a 26-yarder wide left in a 27-16 loss to the Rams in St. Louis.

 

Bossier City Representative Jeff Thompson and US Senator David Vitter as  well as Texas US Senator Ted Cruz will be holding a "Tele-Town Hall" to  tonight to discuss efforts to protect 2nd Amendment rights of gun owners  across America. Thompson, who is also the founder of the group Defend  Louisiana, says they will address the gun rights movement. Thompson says the Tele-Town Hall begins at 7pm and more information about how you can take part is available online at Defendla.org.

 

Senator Mary Landrieu fears there may be no fix the flawed flood  insurance reform law before the year's end. The Biggerts-Waters Flood  Insurance Reform Act will mean huge premium hikes for many residents in  Louisiana. Landrieu says there is a widely supported Senate bill, but  it's hung up waiting on a procedural vote to debate it.  Landrieu says she and Senator David Vitter are doing all they can to get the bill  passed this week.

 

A new poll on the 2015 Louisiana Governor's race shows Republican  Senator David Vitter with only a modest lead over Lt. Governor Jay  Dardenne and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. UL-Lafayette Political  Science professor Pearson Cross says Vitter's 35% indicates he's not the "shoe-in" for Governor that some say he is. The poll shows, in a three way question of preference for governor,  Vitter has 35% followed by Landrieu with 29% and Dardenne with 22%. Dardenne paid for the survey, and Cross feels the results may give him  cause to rethink running in 2015...:

 

In New Roads a 5 year old child  was reportedly left on a school bus in  Pointe Coupee Parish for several  hours  Monday  morning  and  a school  bus  driver  and  one  other  person who was an aid has been suspended. The child fell asleep and after  the  other children were unloaded at the school yesterday morning, the bus  driver  went home and  left  the  little boy on the bus. He was discovered just before noon. Additional disciplinary action against the driver is expected.

 

Police say a man from Carencro is under arrest  after causing a crash that ended up causing a woman, who was 6 months  pregnant,  to  lose her  baby. They say the driver of the vehicle, whose lights were not on, fled  on  foot after the crash took place. The suspect was later apprehended and  Luis Ortiz was charged with hit and run driving but more charges could be filed for the death of the unborn child.

 

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has filed a lawsuit against  Festiva Hospitality  Group  for unfair and deceptive practices in connection with its points-based "vacation club." The suit alleges that Festiva

sold Louisiana consumers  "points" for membership in a vacation club that they could use for trips  to  any  of  its  resorts  around the country.  The  trouble  is...consumers  found it impossible to  book

vacations due to no accommodations.

 

The Houma Police Department says two arrests  have  been made in the beating, tasing and robbery of a disabled man who was  walking  home from  work  last  month. Chief Todd Duplantis says the November 11th crime was caught on  a  surveillance camera. He says the video shows two suspects shocking and  beating  the  victim then taking his cell phone and wallet.

 

A New Orleans woman is under arrest for throwing a kitchen knife  at her  boyfriend  during  a fight, but hitting her 2-year-old grandson instead. Police say the boyfriend ducked and the knife hit the child

on the left side of his head,  leaving a gash that required stitches to close.

 

Gov. Bobby Jindal on Tuesday appointed former Mayor Lynn Robertson to serve as interim mayor of Port Allen in the wake of  “Deedy” Slaughter’s recall from office. The announcement from the Governor’s Office came exactly 24 hours after the 20-day deadline expired for the Port Allen City Council to make the appointment. The City Council canceled a special-called Monday meeting because the five-member body could not reach a consensus on who should serve as interim mayor. The 57 year old Robertson served as the city’s mayor from 1993 to 2004.

 

 

 

News For Tuesday 12/17/13


News for Tuesday 121713

By Dave Graichen

 

The website CarInsuranceComparison.com says Louisiana is ranked  No. 1 on its annual list of the nation's worst drivers. According to the site,  The Bayou State is in the top 5 for failure to obey, speeding tickets  and careless driving. This is the second year in a row that motorists in the state have topped the list.

 

The  Louisiana State Legislative Auditor's Office says the Louisiana Department  of  Education  needs to do a better job of administering the voucher program.  In a recent  report, State Legislative auditor

Darryl Purpera says they found some  blurred lines in determining if the voucher schools spent those tax dollars appropriately. Purpera   suggests   lawmakers  pass  legislation   that   sets   up standardized criteria  for  academic  performance,  before  a school accept a voucher student. Also,  the department of education needs a  better system when determining if a voucher school has the capacity for  the number of students they request.

 

The jackpot for tonight's Mega Millions drawing is approaching 600- million dollars and it can surpass that number before the drawing takes  place at ten o' clock.  The cash value of tonight's Mega Millions drawing is the second largest  ever for the multi-state lottery game.

 

As the year draws to a close, state Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon  reminds homeowners that time is running out to claim rebates on  assessments made to everyone's property insurance for Louisiana Citizens  Insurance.  He says you have only four years to claim a rebate on each  assessment.  The deadline to claim your Citizens assessment for 2009 is  December 31st. Details on how to do that are online at "ldi.la.gov." He  says a huge total of these Louisiana Citizens  assessments have gone  unclaimed, and reverted back to the state treasury.

 

Louisiana is ranked America's second-biggest "judicial hellhole" by the  American Tort Reform Foundation. The ranking is for state's with civil  court systems deemed unfair, and unbalanced - generally to the  disadvantage of the defendant.  The Judicial Hellholes report ranks only California worse than Louisiana  for places in which to face a civil lawsuit. According to the report, Louisiana moved  up the list thanks to abusive so-called "legacy lawsuits" against BP,  the oil & gas industry in general. The report also had less that flattering things to say about Attorney General Buddy.

 

The state Legislative Auditor's Office says the former DeSoto Parish  school superintendent may have given himself improper pay raises,  and misused a parish credit card & took bogus  reimbursements. Auditor  Roger Harris says their report shows Walter Lee's salary went from just under $71-thousand in 1999 to  over $240-thousand by late 2012, with no clear contract language authorizing those raises on record..

 

The state department of transportation  says  the work on I-49 North is nearing completion, and next the focus will soon shift to a south interstate  connector  between  Lafayette  and  New  Orleans.   DODT spokesperson  Sherri  Lebas (la-BAH) says the overall  stretch  will cost hundreds of millions, but an initial stretch near Lafayette was recently put out for bid. She adds this will be a  big  focus  for  DOTD over the next several years.

 

Divers with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office have recovered a body they believe  is  a Slidell-area mom, reported missing December 9th. The remains were found  in  a  submerged  vehicle  matching the description of Crystal Friedman's. The coroner will make  a positive ID.

 

Funeral arrangements are set for artist George Rodrigue, beloved for his  Blue  Dog  paintings  and  more.  He died Saturday after a long battle with cancer. A public mass is scheduled  Thursday  morning at St.  Louis  Cathedral  in  New  Orleans,  with  a  private  mass and interment Friday in New Iberia. Rodrigue was 69.

 

News For Monday 12/16/13


News for Monday 121613

By Dave Graichen

 

 

After being rained out Friday night, the Pineville Christmas parade will roll tonight at 7pm. The parade begins on Main Street in Pineville near Huey P. Long Medical Center and will go northward onto Military Highway and end near the Trotter Center.

 

The grand opening of Alexandria’s new fire station on Coliseum Blvd is today. The public is invited to the grand opening at 10:30 or just drop by to tour the new facility any time before 6pm.

 

If  you  have  LSU  football season tickets, then you'll probably be paying more for them  next  year.   The  LSU  Board  of  Supervisors have approved  a plan that raises the cost to buy  tickets for games at  Tiger  Stadium. Those ticket price  hikes  will  generate  an  additional  2.3 million dollars in revenue for the athletic program. The average  increase  next  year  will be about 6 percent over this

year.

 

The Mega Millions jackpot on Tuesday will be at least $550 million after lottery officials announced there was no winning ticket sold in Friday night's drawing.  A $550 million prize would be Mega Millions' second-largest jackpot ever and the fourth-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history. The $550 million jackpot would net a cash option of $295 million.

 

The New Orleans Saints could have clinched a playoff berth and moved a step closer to winning the NFC South with a victory in St. Louis on Sunday. But the Rams, who have given the Saints trouble in the past, continued to do so again on Sunday. St. Louis outscored New Orleans 17-0 in the first half and held on despite a frantic Saints rally for a 27-16 victory.

 

George Rodrigue, the Cajun Louisiana artist most known for his iconic “Blue Dog” paintings, died Saturday evening at a hospital in Houston after a long battle with cancer. Funeral arrangements should be announced today. George Rodrigue was 69.

 

Entergy Louisiana and Entergy Gulf States are scheduled to go before the  Public Service Commission today seeking a rate hike. P-S-C member Foster  Campbell says he'll vote against it. Campbell says the utility company  originally asked for a 200-million dollar rate increase, but after

talking with P-S-C staff, they'll seek a ten-million dollar rate hike.  Campbell says he'll actually seek to reduce Entergy's rates. The  commissioner says the company is already allowed a profit margin of over 10-percent, which he thinks is too high.

 

The Centers for Disease Control are stressing the importance of getting  a flu shot before the flu season gets any worse. Clinics and doctors  offices in Louisiana report the number of diagnosed flu cases is on the  rise. CDC immunologist Dr. Michael Jung (young) says  flu vaccine is readily available at doctors' offices,  clinics, parish health centers and even at many drug stores. Some people resist getting the flu vaccine because they're squeamish  about needles. Dr. Jung says those under 49 can get the nasal spray.

 

A high-powered Japanese sniper rifle, a sawed-off shotgun, a revolver missing a bullet chamber and a BB gun were among the weapons people hauled to a church Saturday for the latest Baton Rouge “Gas for Guns” buyback event. The program, which has been conducted twice previously in Baton Rouge, is designed to remove unsecured and unwanted weapons from the community. East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said 71 handguns, rifles and shotguns were turned in to law enforcement officials Saturday with no questions asked in exchange for $4,200 worth of gas cards.

 

The Louisiana Lottery announces the Robertsons of A&E's Duck Dynasty  are the newest members of its family of $5 scratch-off games.  Spokeswoman Kimberly Chopin says they were very eager to bring the West  Monroe crew to their popular games.  The overall odds of winning a scratch-off prize are 1 in 4 and the game contains more than $5.7 million dollars in prizes.

 

The Bossier City man accused of killing his wife, burning  her body, then burying her in the woods...before fleeing the state...has  been brought  back  to  Bossier  Parish to face charges. Robert Bond shot himself  with  a  small  caliber   handgun   as  Mississippi  lawmen approached his vehicle at a rest stop. He's been  transferred from a hospital there to the Bossier parish prison. His bond  is  a million dollars.

 

LSU  says it will establish a Baton Rouge campus of its New  Orleans Med School. It would be the first permanent medical school campus in the Capital  City. Branch status would bring students to Baton Rouge full-time for  their  third  and fourth years of medical school. The phase-in begins in July with 32 future physicians arriving for their third year. The New Orleans medical  school  has 800 students today. The school gets about 3,000 applications for the  200  student spots that open every year.

 

A  south  Louisiana man who claims he thought he got a gift from God when actually  there  was a bank error on his account is arrested on theft charges. Kenner Police  report the wife of 36 year old William Lopez went to deposit $700 in their account, but it actually  showed up as $7000. The  suspect  proceeded  to  go  on  a spending . Lopez allegedly ignored the banks  attempts  to contact him and went to spend the entire $6300 in Mississippi.

 

Fred Howell Jr., a  cast  member  from the show Cajun Pawn Stars, has been arrested on burglary charges after  he  asked  a  pawn shop owner to help him crack a password on a laptop. The tip was  called  in to authorities,  and investigators  later discovered the suspect had stolen 2 laptops, an XBOX and a Nintendo from a home in Alexandria.

 

 

News For Friday 12/13/13


News for Friday 121313

By Dave Graichen

 

Rainy weather in the forecast for this evening has postponed the Pineville Christmas parade. The parade, instead of tonight, will kick off at 7pm on Monday evening. The route will remain the same, starting by Huey P. Long and traveling towards Louisiana College on Main street.

 

Christmas parades are scheduled for Saturday in Cenla, including Pollock at 10 a.m.; Cheneyville at 11 a.m.; Boyce at 2 p.m.; Ball at 2 p.m.; and Bunkie at 4 p.m. The Cottonport parade is set for 1:30 p.m. Sunday. And don’t forget the Holiday Safari of lights at the Alexandria Zoo, Tonight and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Last but not least, the Christmas Festival Of Lights Continue in Natchitoches.

 

The Gillis Long Bridge connecting Alexandria  and  Pineville reopened to traffic yesterday after being closed in September.   State Department of  Transportation  Spokesperson  Deidra  Druilet  (Drool-yet)  says during  the  construction,  the  structure  was  repaired   and  the sidewalks were widened. The bridge still closed to pedestrian traffic for the next few weeks. There is a free pedestrian and cyclist shuttle service running  from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days a week and during holidays.

 

An  excessive amount of unexcused absences in school has led to the arrest  of  almost 100 East Baton Rouge Parish parents. According to officials, charges  of  improper  supervision  of  a minor were made against  parents  over  a two-day round-up, conducted by  local  law enforcement.  There were  almost  150  truancy cases reported by the Family Youth Service Center.

 

Louisiana State Police and State Highway Safety Commission announce the  annual holiday "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign kicks off  today. LSP Sgt. Nick Manale says they be working with local law  enforcement agencies around the state to make sure that motorists are  making the right decisions.  He says during the 2012 Christmas and  New Year's Holiday period, 12 people were killed and more than 1300  were injured in highway crashes in Louisiana.

 

A  Shreveport  lawmaker  feels  Christmas  and  Hanukkah  should  be celebrated in public schools, without restriction or punishment, and says  he'll  file  legislation  to that effect.  Representative Alan

Seabaugh says he will introduce that  bill  in the spring, so it can be fully in effect for next year.

 

There's  now  assistance  available  for  farmers  and  ranchers  in recovery  from last  summer's  drought  in  20  Louisiana  parishes. Louisiana Commissioner  of  Agriculture  Mike Strain adds that seven parishes  will  also be eligible for disaster  assistance  loans  as well. The  help covers mostly  northern,  western  and  central  Louisiana Parishes. For info go to ldaf.la.gov

 

The Jindal administration announced Thursday afternoon that a tax amnesty program generated $435 million, far more than legislators expected. The program offered taxpayers an incentive for settling tax disputes or clearing back taxes. Interest was reduced. Penalties were waived. Legislators expected the program to produce at least $200 million for health care expenses in the state operating budget. Instead, it brought in more than double that amount.

 

A DeRidder man has been booked into the Leesville City Jail, accused of robbing City Savings Bank on Monday. 26 year old Michael Lee Jones was arrested Wednesday after an investigation into the armed robbery of the Leesville bank that happened late Monday. Jones was charged with armed robbery. Bond was set at $200,000. The investigation continues.

 

A   new  report  from  the  group  "Human  Rights  Watch"  says  law enforcement and public policy are contributing  to  the  state's HIV epidemic. Megan McLemore, with HRW, authored the report, which  says cops  arrest  people  and  take their condoms and clean needles. She says  Louisiana should adopt  clean-needle  exchange  programs  form intravenous  drug  addicts,  like  those already in place in several other major U.S. cities.

 

The  State  Fire  Marshal's  office says a structure fire in Lincoln Parish claimed the life of a 58  year  old man from Ruston. They say it appears Robert Nelson had helped his  76  year  old mother out of

the home then went back inside  to attempt to extinguish  the  blaze, but  was  never  seen  alive  again.  It is not believed there was a working smoke alarm in the home.

 

Loggers in Beauregard Parish  found  something  you  don't see every day:  An adult bald eagle sitting in between sitting between  a  row of  pine  trees.   It turns out the female eagle was injured, so the workers contacted the  Department  of Wildlife and Fisheries, who in turn transported the bird to the Heckhaven  Wildlife  Rehabilitation Center.  The adult eagle is expected to recover.

 

 

 

News For Thursday 12/12/13


News for Thursday 121213

By Dave Graichen

 

Some Rapides parish school officials say they believe it is time for the school district to break down and buy some new school busses.  Rapides’ Director of Transportation Velt Edwards said he surveyed the 13 surrounding parishes and learned, “We have the oldest fleet by far, some dating back to the mid 90’s. Director of Finance Liz Domite said the school system has received $3.5 million in certificates of indebtedness. In January, she will ask board members for permission to seek bids to buy newer buses. The bids will be for the purchase of 10 to 15 new special education buses, which cost more than $100,000 each, and about 35 used regular buses

 

The  state health report card is out, and Louisiana is no longer the second  most unhealthy state.  It's now the third most unhealthy for many of the  same  reasons  as  before.  United Health Senior Health Advisor  Dr. Rhonda Randall says Even though progress is being made, there's  still  a long way to go in obesity and smoking. High  immunization  coverage  among adults and rising

high school graduation rate are some of the state's strengths.

 

An  ordinance  called  "Be  Fair  Shreveport", which protects people against discrimination based on sexual  orientation,  was  passed by the city council Tuesday night. Adrienne Critcher is the Communications Director  for  "People  Acting for Change." She says the passing  of  this ordinance is great news  for  the  city  of Shreveport, because young talented and creative people, especially  in high tech fields, look at a city's openness as a way to determine whether  or not it's a place they would like to move to. The council's vote was 6-1 in favor of Be Fair.

 

The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's office  says  two security guards at the  jail  there have been released and are now under  investigation for allegedly  abusing  a child prisoner. They say videotapes of the

alleged incident have been  sent  to  the  DA's  office for possible criminal indictments. In the meantime the officers  are  no  longer employed at the jail.

 

The  good news for Obamacare sign-up is that nearly five  times  the original  number  of  Louisiana  residents have been able to sign up online since the computer glitches were fixed.  The bad news is that number is a little over 2,000 people,  and  that's  still  less than projected  at the end of November. Enrollment continues until  March 31st.

 

The state Department  of  Insurance says property owners who have to resort to the state-run insurance  company of last resort now are at record low levels. Over 14-thousand  property owners have transferred their  policies  from  Louisiana  Citizens  Property  Insurance  to private market carriers. Citizens customers  now  make up only 2.7% of the state homeowners marketplace.

 

Veronica LaBeaud, of New Orleans, has made history within the Louisiana  National Guard. LaBeaud has been promoted to Command Sgt. Maj. of the  256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, becoming the first African American  woman to achieve this status. LaBeaud says she never planned on  this high rank during her 32 years in the National Guard.  LaBeaud wants to be an inspiration for females in the military.

 

The  state's  Motorist Assistance Patrol  service,  offered  in  New Orleans, Baton  Rouge  and  Shreveport,  has  picked  up a corporate sponsor. State Farm Insurance will pay a quarter-million  dollars  a year to assist in keeping the roadside help service running.

 

Federal  authorities  cite an Ascension Parish  chemical  plant  for safety violations that  caused  an explosion and fire last June that killed two workers and injured dozens  of  others.  OSHA  recommends $99-thousand in fines against the Williams Olefins plant in Geismar.

 

The woman who last year won the case regarding  her  first amendment right to display a middle finger in Christmas lights on  the roof of her  Denham Springs home is at it again. This year Sarah Childs  has put a  two  middle finger light display on her roof. Neighbors claim Childs thinks  someone  stole her dog which is why she is upset with them.

 

Police in Hammond are looking for two men who allegedly attempted to rob  an  ATM  using a blowtorch. It happened at a Capital  One bank branch  and  the  incident  was  caught  on  surveillance cameras. The  suspects  were  not  able to get the cash inside using this method. Anyone with information  on  this  crime  is  urged  to contact law enforcement.

 

 

News For Wednesday 12/11/13


News for Wednesday 121113

By Dave Graichen

 

The home of Pineville mayor Clarence Fields and his wife Rosa was seriously damaged by a fire yesterday morning. Pineville Fire Chief Eddie LaBorde said the fire appears to have started in a fireplace in a downstairs bedroom.  Mayor Fields says the damage inside the home is “unimaginable,” but that the important thing is that no lives were lost.

 

Jan. 2 is the target date to start issuing permits for restaurants who want to sell alcohol in the city of Pineville. The official ordinance relaxing the prohibition on alcohol sales in the city was passed unanimously by the City Council  last night. 

 

Louisiana College announced Tuesday that it has been reaffirmed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The school had been on warning for the past two years by the accreditation group. The announcement comes following a vote of the accrediting agency’s Board of Trustees at their annual meeting this month as well as a comprehensive on-site review of Louisiana College in October by a five-member SACS committee.

 

The U.S. House approved Tuesday the much-delayed, expanded veterans’ health care clinics in Lafayette, Lake Charles and 25 other locations in the nation. The critical step sets the table for the U.S. Senate to approve the legislation by “unanimous consent”. That could happen as early as today. Senator Mary Landrieu said late Tuesday she “doubts” there will be any opposition.

 

A Louisiana Congressman expects we'll hear very soon that U-S Senator  David Vitter will run for governor in 2015. Vitter sent an email to  supporters last week that said he's considering a run for the governor's  mansion. US Representative John Fleming of Minden believes Vitter has  already made up his mind.

 

Qualifying for elections for city offices in New Orleans begins today,  including the race for Mayor. Democrat Mitch Landrieu is certain to want  another term as mayor, but, according to some, might he also choose to run for Louisiana  Governor down the road.  Political analyst and "LAPolitics.com" publisher  John Maginnis  feels Landrieu  is a shoe-in for another term as New Orleans Mayor and would be a strong democratic candidate in the governor’s race.

 

The Union Parish Sheriff's  office  says  three  Louisiana  National Guardsmen  are  accused  of stealing night vision goggles and scopes for M-16 rifles. They say  in  all, about $13,000 worth of equipment was stolen. The three have been charged with felony theft.

 

A  woman from Lake Charles pleads  not  guilty  in  state  court  on charges of molestation of a juvenile, second degree kidnapping, drug distribution  to a student and four counts of cruelty to a juvenile. 30 year old Lacey  Cherre  is  accused of holding a 14 year old girl against her will and forcing her to take drugs and perform sex acts. A trial date is set for March 17th.

 

Get ready for a redneck kind of Christmas,  as  A&E will air the Duck Dynasty Christmas Special tonight. The  Robertson  family  of West  Monroe  promises  a  lot of laughs and family fun. The program airs at 9 tonight on A&E.

 

Bell Helicopter announced Monday that it will produce its new SLS helicopter at Lafayette Regional Airport. That project that will create 115 new direct jobs averaging more than $55,000 per year, plus benefits.

 

Eunice  Police  say  they'll  charge  the  man  who  killed  a  city garbage man in a vehicle accident Monday  with careless operation and possibly vehicular homicide. Eunice PD Deputy  Chief Varden Guillory says a truck driven by 55-year-old Everett Sonnier  hit  the back of the  garbage  truck - pinning 34-year-old Walter Washington  between the vehicles. Washington  died  from  his  injuries.  A   preliminary   investigation   indicates  Sonnier  wasn't  paying attention when the crash occurred.

 

U.S. Sen. David Vitter announced Tuesday that he is foregoing his federal employer contribution to health insurance now that he has purchased a health plan in the health care exchange as a Louisiana resident. Vitter opted to follow the same route as Sen. Mary Landrieu  to refuse the employer contribution that is following members of Congress and their staffers onto the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Those opting to keep their contributions have to enroll in the Washington, D.C. health exchange and not their home states.

 

A judge in Jefferson Parish sentences a 13-year-old Terrytown boy to three years in juvenile detention for killing his sister, using body and elbow slam  moves  he  saw  on TV wrestling. The 5-year-old girl died of internal bleeding and broken  ribs.  The boy will get credit for time served since his arrest last July. 

 

Lafayette Police are investigating Monday's death of a local man who was  hit  by  an  AmTrak train. 59-year-old  McKensey  Portalis  was walking across the  tracks,  at  a  crossing with working lights and alarms. The train was only doing about 25 miles an hour at the point of impact. An investigation is underway.

 

A Lake Arthur Police officer has been charged with  aggravated  rape and  molestation  of  a juvenile. State Police say 37-year-old Damon Broussard is alleged to  have  engaged  in  sexual  conduct with two children; one under 15 and one under 13. Detectives say the offenses reportedly  happened  some  years  ago.

 

Spin Magazine is reporting that the Estate  of  Bob  Marley is suing the Louisiana based restaurant Raising Canes over it's  slogan, "One Love."  The  lawsuit  cites  trademark  infringement  and  that  the Marley's were not consulted when the phrase was registered by Cane's years ago.

 

It looks like LSU fans are reacting positively to the news that The Tigers will be playing  in  the Outback Bowl in Tampa Florida on New Years  Day.  It's  the first time The Bayou Bengals are playing  The Outback Bowl in almost  25  years.  Tickets  for the game start at $80 and are on sale now. To order log on to lsutix.net or call the LSU ticket office.

 

A small aircraft  had  to make an emergency landing in a cow pasture near Hammond, in Tangiphoa Parish, Tuesday. The plane carried a flying instructor and his student  pilot. They reported losing oil pressure at about 3000 feet. They managed to safely land the aircraft, and no one was injured. The FAA plans to investigate.

News For Tuesday 12/10/13


News for Tuesday 121013

By Dave Graichen

 

There has been an interesting development in the Rapides parish School district, after a big announcement last week that Sam Goodwin would be the new coach at Alexandria Senior High School. Supt. Of schools Nason Authement announced that the hiring of Goodwin did not meet district hiring guidelines. Authement  saying yesterday his administration is committed to being an equal opportunity employer. An ad had now been placed advertising the position and Subsequently, a new teacher/head football coach will be officially hired and named. Some are saying the move was just a formality. Time will tell.

 

State  Wildlife  and Fisheries agents says  they  rescued  an  Allen Parish  couple  that  got  stranded  in  Bayou  Nezpique,  near  the Evangeline Parish  line.  Agents  say  the couple had to bail out of

their  canoe when it got caught in fast current. Mark  & Michelle Tarver were safely rescued, but also cited for hunting ducks out of season.

 

The new head of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry says  education needs to step up to meet the state's workforce needs of  tomorrow. LABI President Stephen Waguespack feels K-through-12 schools  do a poor job of teaching young people even the basics of reading,  critical thinking and working well with others.

 

An employee of Progressive Waste was killed yesterday morning in Eunice when a pickup truck slammed into the back of  the truck while they were stopped picking up trash. The incident happened shortly before 5am. The driver of the pickup,  55 year old Everett Sonnier was also seriously injured. The crash remains under investigation.

 

The LSU Police Department says they have identified a suspect in the rape of a woman on campus  during  the  Texas  A&M  game on November 23rd.  They  say  32 year old Albert Ford of Atlanta is  accused  of following  the woman  into  a  port-o-john,  locking  the  door  and threatening  to snap her neck if she screamed. Ford is wanted on one count of aggravated rape.

 

The Baton Rouge Police Department says they have solved a crime that has  been  cold  nearly 19 Baton  Rouge  Police  have  made an arrest in an 18-year-old  double homicide.  In January 1995, 23-year-old  Lester  Yarbrough  and  his pregnant girlfriend,  22-year-old  Patricia Jackson, were found shot to death inside their apartment. Her  11-month  old  niece  was also shot but survived. Evidence and witness testimony led to the  arrest of  39-year-old James I. Johnson, who is now charged with 1st-degree murder.

 

A  Calcasieu Parish woman has been sentenced to 30-years  in  prison for  heaping  abuse upon her 9-year-old stepson. In court, the child testified  that  31-year-old  Jamie  Brooks  Day  subjected  him  to malnourishment  and  various acts of abuse, including making him eat his own feces. When the  abuse  came  to  light  in  2010, the child weighed only 38 pounds.

 

Police in Thibodaux arrest a local woman after finding her and her  daughter living in filth with 35 dogs and cats. Police spokesman David  Melancon says the urine and feces smell of the animals permeated  everything in the house. He says they were called to visit the home  because the daughter had quit going to school.  Melancon says the girl had quit going to school, because she was being  bullied about having a constant smell of animal waste.

 

Gas  prices  have fallen a couple of pennies over the last week, but Louisiana AAA  fuel analyst Don Redman says the price at the pump is expected to rise  again  as  Christmas approaches. Redman says there was hope that we would see gas  prices  get  down  to  about $2.85 a gallon, but says a rise in crude oil prices will prevent that. Redman says expect gas to remain at above $3 through the holidays.

 

The  Ascension  Parish Sheriff's office  says  a  woman   cited  for allegedly lying about  being  attacked  and  having  her  wallet and wedding  rings  stolen.  They  say 37 year old Debra Bass of Geismar told investigators she'd been hit  and  robbed  by  a man as she had pulled over on the side of the road because of a flat  tire.  Police later discovered  she had  a  gambling  problem and sold her wedding rings to a pawn shop.

 

We have all heard the stories of sleeping children waking up in a locked up bus. But, here’s a similar story with a twist. A napping man from Louisiana  was  reportedly left on an airplane in Houston over the weekend.  Tom Wagner nodded off while the plane was in flight from Lafayette to Houston. But, woke up to a cold dark plane that was locked up tight as a drum. Wagner had to  call  his  girlfriend, who in turn called United Airlines, to get somebody to rescue  him.  The airline  issued  a  statement  saying  they  are  investigating  the incident.

 

Firefighters  in  Lafayette  say a man is under arrest for allegedly intentionally setting a fire inside  a  home  on  Sunday. They say a neighbor called 911 to report hearing the smoke alarm  going  off at

the residence. The 39 year old step-son of the home's owner was  the only  one  home  at the time and he admitted to setting the fire for reasons that remain  under  investigation. Josh Haney was not harmed in the blaze but was charged with Simple Arson.

 

Officials with the Advocare V100 Bowl are elated with their December  31st match-up at Independence Stadium. Arizona and Boston College will  play each other in the annual Shreveport bowl game. Bowl chairman John  Hubbard says it's a big deal to have two teams from BCS  conferences in  their bowl game.  ULM made a push to play in the Advocare V100 Bowl for a second straight  season, but Hubbard says they couldn't pass on this match-up.

 

 

News For Monday 12/9/13


News for Monday 120913

By Dave Graichen

 

The rain Sunday stopped just in time for  Alexandria’s annual Christmas parade. Crowds were down  this year as were the number of those taking part in the parade. But, many of those attending said it was worth getting out in the cold.   Other areas across the state were not so lucky as many towns were forced to either postpone or outright cancel their scheduled events.

 

LSU will spend the holidays in sunny Tampa, Fla., for the first time in 25 years. The Tigers will play Iowa in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day. The Outback Bowl kickoff is set for noon at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It will be LSU’s second appearance in the Outback Bowl and first since losing to Syracuse following the 1988 season.

 

The Saints are in first place in the NFC South after clobbering Carolina  31-13 last night. Drew Brees threw for 313 yards and four touchdowns.  It was an historic night for Brees as he became the fifth quarterback in  NFL history to surpass 50-thousand passing yards for his career. Brees  accomplished the feat in just 183 games, the fastest of the 5 players.

 

For the first time in at least five years, many retired teachers, state workers and school system employees are in line for an increase in their pension checks. Louisiana’s four statewide retirement system boards are preparing to seek legislative approval of a general cost-of-living adjustment — likely between 1.5 percent and 2 percent — for tens of thousands of retirees over age 60. The cost-of-living adjustments, better known as COLAs, increase the regular benefits checks and must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature. The next legislative session opens March 10.

 

Congressional District 2, as redrawn by the Legislature in 2011, looks like a wind-ruffled ribbon that curls from the eastern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, through New Orleans, then up the Mississippi River to northern Baton Rouge. Three Baton Rouge residents of District 2 are asking U.S. District Judge Shelly D. Dick to declare the district’s boundaries racially gerrymandered. The plaintiffs also want Dick to bar Louisiana from holding the 2014 election in District 2 until it is redrawn.

 

Governor  Bobby Jindal’s hard-fought bid to link teacher job reviews to the growth of student achievement , a key plank in his push to improve Louisiana’s public schools, has been sidelined until after he leaves office. The provision, which Jindal pushed through the Legislature in 2010, connects many of the roughly 50,000 annual teacher evaluations to how students fare in the classroom.

But that rule, which teacher unions bitterly oppose, has been set aside until at least the 2015-16 school year, in part because of complaints about the state’s adoption of tougher academic standards called Common Core.

 

Tolls, taxes and selling bonds backed by unclaimed property are some of the ideas floated to pay for construction  of Interstate 49 South between Lafayette and the west bank of New Orleans.  The  State Bond Commission  has  approved  the  latter plan, to sell $20-million  in bonds  to  get  I-49  South started,  using  the  state's  unclaimed property fund as security.  As  of last July 1st, the state had over $120-million in unclaimed moneys,  which could be used to secure the bonds.

 

LPB will air a documentary tonight that looks at the comeback of the  Louisiana Black Bear. Black Bears have been on the Endangered Species  List since 1992, when there were fewer than 300 of them in the world.  Now there could be as many as one-thousand bears in the state.

 

Officials in  Ascension  Parish  say  they were taken by surprise by Shell's decision to bail out of a planned  gas-to-liquids plant. The proposed plant would have employed over 750  at  large salaries with benefits.  Ascension  Council  Chairman Chris Loar says Shell blamed the  high  cost  of the project, coupled  with  uncertainty  in  the long-term costs of  oil and gas. He says he asked officials at Shell why they would bother  making  a site selection announcement if they weren't aware of the cost of the project. Shell  says  the  estimated  $12.5-billion  construction  cost   had ballooned to over $20-billion, hence their decision.

 

Police in the Lafayette Parish town of Scott arrest  a local man for allegedly beating up his wheelchair-bound girlfriend.  Officers says the  victim  suffered facial bruised, a fractured eye socket  and  a broken rib. 38-year-old  Gary  Squires  was  arrested  for  domestic violence  battery.  He  claims  he  was  defending  himself from her attack.

 

The  District  Attorney  in  Caddo  Parish  has  decided not to file charges  against  the  mother of a little girl who died  last  July, after being left locked  in  a  hot  vehicle  for  several hours. DA

Charles  Scott  says  evidence indicates the incident was  a  tragic mistake, and that 31-year-old  Krystal  Delafosse will likely suffer the result of it for the rest of her life.

 

The  former  pastor who founded the Just for Jesus rallies  in  Lake Charles has been  arrested  again. This time officers say they found 52 year old James Bertrand  parked on a dead end street with cocaine located on his center  console  and  a  needle  in  his lap. Bertrand has been arrested several times this year. His bond was set at $2.06 million dollars.

 

News For Friday 12/06/13


News for Friday 120613

By Dave Graichen

 

More big weather changes are coming today for Louisiana. State  Climatologist Barry Keim says prepare for another bout of cold weather,  which he says is already entering the state this morning. He says the  cold front should reach the coast by later tonight. Keim says temperatures will be dropping throughout  the day. He says with the colder  air, we can expect lots of rain through the weekend.

 

State and local officials were on hand yesterday along with  Gulf Coast Spinning Company  CEO Dan Feibus announced the his company will invest  130  million dollars in  a  new spinning facility in Bunkie, with construction to begin in mid-2014.   They  estimate  the  creation  of just over 300 jobs, and over 700 indirect jobs.

 

There was some bad economic development news  yesterday.  Shell  announced they  are  scrapping  plans  to build a 12-point-five billion dollar natural gas-to-liquids plant in  Ascension Parish. The project would have created over 700 jobs. Shell  says  the  project  is  no longer viable, because of uncertainty in long-term oil and gas prices.

 

Sam Goodwin, the longtime coach at Northwestern State, was introduced Thursday afternoon as the next coach Alexandria Senior High School. The 69-year-old Goodwin, a Pineville native, has coached for more than 40 years at the collegiate and high school level in Louisiana and Arkansas.

 

The Louisiana National Guard announced changes in procedures that will allow its soldiers and employees with same-sex married partners to take advantage of federal benefits without violating Louisiana law. State law forbids state employees, which Guardsmen technically are, from taking any actions that would support the legality of same-sex marriage. Gay married couples employed by the Louisiana National Guard were unable to participate in the health care services, housing, shopping at low-priced military grocery and goods stores as well as other benefits available to other members of the military.

 

One of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s cabinet secretaries said Thursday that JPMorgan Chase waited months before alerting the administration about a computer hacking that impacts 13,500 Louisiana residents.

State Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield said he is reserving judgment but wants to know why there was a delay. He said JPMorgan Chase & Co. learned about the breach in September and phoned his office just this week.

 

State Police say the driver of an 18 wheeler died in a single vehicle crash Wednesday afternoon  in  Sabine  Parish. They say 29 year old Eldon Hendrix II of Center, Texas lost control on LA High 191 and overturned his truck. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

Authorities say the pilot  of  a  helicopter  that  crashed  in Port Fourchon  Thursday morning is a hero because of the way he handled  the situation. They chopper  was  carrying 9 people headed offshore when some sort of malfunction occurred  and  they  had  to  make  a  hard landing. Nobody on board the helicopter suffered any injuries in the crash.

 

ULM launches a campaign to try and get the Warhawk  football team in the  Advocare  V100  Bowl  in  Shreveport.  Athletic director  Brian Wickstrom says digital billboards are up in the  Monroe area, urging fans to call and email bowl officials and tell them  they  want  the Warhawks in that bowl game for a second straight year. The Warhawks played in the Bowl last year, but lost to Ohio University.

 

A former LSU football player is facing a felony charge after he  allegedly stole money from a wallet located inside an off-campus  apartment last month. Baton Rouge Police Corporal Don Coppola Jr says  Jeryl Brazil faces a charge of simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling. Coppola says surveillance video helped identify Brazil as the thief.

 

Blue  Cross  and  Blue Shield of Louisiana has launched an  App  for iPhone and iPad that  their  customers  can  now  use to find urgent care, check the status of a claim and more. The group  says the Blue Cross  app  is named "BCBSLA" and contains many features that  allow their customers  access  to  their  healthcare  coverage information easily.

 

A Jefferson Parish Sheriff's  deputy  has been fired after admitting to illegally buying pain meds for a family  member. An investigation turned up evidence that 30-year-old Jon-Michael  Norris  was  buying hydrocodone pills for a relative who was reportedly addicted. Charges against  Norris may be coming.

 

A federal  judge  has  dismissed  a  civil  suit against the city of Shreveport - filed by a woman who says she was raped in 2010 by then chief administrative officer Rick Seaton. She  sought  to  hold  the city  accountable  for  what  happened  to her inside a city office. Seaton was convicted and is still serving  time  for  the crime. The judge ruled the victim's civil suit invalid.

 

 

News For Thursday 12/5/13


News for Thursday 120513

By Dave Graichen

 

The state DOTD announced yesterday that The Jackson Street Bridge will reopen to vehicle traffic on Thursday, Dec. 12. However, the sidewalk for pedestrians will remain closed "until further notice,". The existing shuttle service will continue for pedestrians and bicyclists.

 

A series of Christmas festivals will begin this evening in Alexandria. The event kicks off the city of Alexandria’s Twelve Nights of Christmas celebration. Holiday Magic Downtown begins at 5 p.m. today in the Alexander Fulton mini-park across from Alexandria City Hall. It will feature food, music and Santa Claus.

 

US Senator David Vitter sent an email to his supporters this Wednesday saying  that friends and family members have been encouraging him to run for Governor  in 2015. Vitter says he and his wife Wendy plan to pray about the decision  over  the  Christmas  holiday and they will make an official announcement one way or the other next month.

 

U.S.  Representative Vance McAllister from the sixth district hasn't been in  Washington that long, but he's already secured spots on the House Natural  Resources  and House Agriculture committees. He has a one-year term because of the  time  left on Rodney Alexander's term, who resigned in the middle of his sixth term.

 

Get ready for a change in the weather. Meteorologist Gary Chatelain with  the National Weather Service  says the mild temperatures  we've seen this week will go away, as the result of a very strong cold  front that arrives in the bayou state today.  The cold front won't push through south Louisiana until tomorrow, but  once it does, temperatures will drop. On Saturday, high temps will be in  40s for much of south Louisiana, upper 30s for north Louisiana.  Chatelain says there's a chance for mixed precipitation from I-20 to the  north on Saturday.

 

Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols announced late Wednesday, personal information for about 13,500 Louisiana residents was compromised when the data collected by three state government agencies was breached. Computer hackers penetrated the computer security systems at JPMorgan Chase. About 6,000 recipients of a pre-loaded debit card used by the Louisiana Department of Revenue to distribute state income tax refunds could have been compromised, as well as approximately 5,300 Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services child support debit cardholders and about 2,200 people receiving unemployment benefits from the Louisiana Workforce Commission via a  Chase debit card.

 

A last-ditch bid to impose a two-year moratorium on letter grades for public schools failed Wednesday. Instead, the state’s top school board voted to tweak a new policy so that schools will not be unfairly penalized as they move to the national academic standards called Common Core. All the action followed Tuesday’s three-hour debate, which ended with the panel endorsing a wide range of changes to soften the impact of the overhaul. The grades stem from a 2010 state law. They are aimed at showing parents and others how schools are operating. Critics say the grades are too imprecise to be meaningful.

 

State Sen. Dan Claitor said Wednesday he will run for Congress in the 6th district after deciding he could bring some “reason” back to Washington. The state senator from Baton Rouge is serving his second term in the Legislature after first being elected in 2009. The 6th congressional district seat is being vacated after 2014 because current Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, is running for the U.S. Senate next year.

 

Louisiana’s higher education commissioner said Wednesday that he won’t seek a contract renewal when his current deal as the state’s chief policy leader for public colleges ends in March. Jim Purcell, who has been in the job since February 2011, notified the Board of Regents about his decision at its monthly meeting. The announcement wasn’t necessarily a surprise. Purcell has often been at odds with Gov. Bobby Jindal over the depth of budget cuts, with more than $700 million in state funding stripped from higher education by the Jindal administration and lawmakers since 2008.

 

You could call it Karma, The Opelousas  Police  Department  says a man carjacked a vehicle

Wednesday,  crashed the SUV he  stole a short time later and is now in serious condition. They say 28 year  old  Kendall  Reed allegedly whacked  the  victim  in the head with a tool as he was leaving  for work and  sped  off in his vehicle. Reed is suffering from internal injuries  and  several  cuts on his head and hands. Once he gets out of the hospital, police say they will be waiting for him.

 

LSU freshman  Quarterback  Anthony  Jennings will be the play caller for  the  Tigers'  bowl game in January.   That's  because  of  Zach Mettenberger's season-ending  knee  injury.   Football analyst  Mike Detillier says the news for Mentenburger is not all bad. In fact, he still has a chance to be drafted in the 1st round  of the NFL draft, even with the injury. Mentenberger became the third quarterback in LSU history to throw for 3,000 yards in a season and he's one of the nation's leaders in passing efficiency.

 

Sheriff's deputies in Iberia Parish seek a pair of armed robbers, who  used Facebook to set their victim up for a holdup. Sheriff's spokesman  Captain Ryan Turner says the 28-year-old victim had been communicating  with a man on the social media website, and agreed to meet him face-to-

face. When the woman arrived at the address given by the Facebook  friend, but was quickly confronted outside the home by two armed men who  took her money.

 

The Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge gets nearly  $16-million in grants for continued studies of optimal nutrition and  combat readiness for soldiers. The two Department of Defense grants will  continue research into nutrition and fitness strategies for America's  fighting men and women.

 

 

 

 

News For Wednesday 12/4/13


News for Wednesday 120413

By Dave Graichen

 

After  weeks of speculation, republican US Senator David Vitter says he is thinking  about  running for governor in 2015. Vitter told the Associated  Press that he  and  his  wife  will  send  an  email  to

supporters  letting  them   know  about  a  potential  gubernatorial campaign. Vitter plans to make a decision by January.

 

The  state  Board of Elementary &  Secondary  Education  (BESE)  has approved changes in implementing the new performance standards known as Common Core.  Teacher  evaluations,  student promotion and school letter grades won't be affected by Common  Core  for two full years.

Teachers  unions,  school boards and parents have voiced  plenty  of opposition to the unproven  performance  standards  being  pushed by federal education officials.

 

Tonight the national spotlight shines on Central Louisiana. To be more exact McNeeley Crossing, just south of Colfax on highway 8 in Grant Parish. “Mud People,” filmed at Louisiana MudFest  premieres at 10 p.m. tonight on the Travel Channel.

 

Officials  in  north Louisiana are doing a study of plans to provide Amtrak passenger rail service across the region, with possible stops in Shreveport, Ruston  and Monroe. Kent Rogers is Executive Director of the Northwest Louisiana  Council of Governments. He says DOTD has awarded them $250,000 to conduct  the study.

 

Louisiana oystermen say oysters are very hard to come by this winter and  their $300-million industry is hurting. Louisiana Oyster Task Force  Chairman John Tesvich says, in his 35 years in the oyster business, he's  never seen it this bad.  Tesvich says many oyster businesses along Louisiana's coast are reduced  to only one working boat, because harvests are just too small. He says  it's not just a decline; it's practically zero population. He says it's  likely not a coincidence that the shortage of oysters comes just a few  years after the massive BP oil spill.

 

Sentencing is scheduled today for a Jefferson Parish 13-year-old who  admitted killed his little sister, while imitating moves he learned  watching TV wrestling. In court Tuesday, Armstrong Desvallons (day val on) pleaded guilty to  the death of his 5-year-old half-sister, using repeated elbow and body

slam moves he learned watching WWE wrestling on television. She died of internal bleeding, liver lacerations and broken ribs.

 

The  Ouachita  Parish  Sheriff's  office  says  a  two-car  accident Monday  evening leaves one dead and another facing charges.  They say an initial  investigation  revealed that one vehicle hit another

from causing both cars to catch  fire.  One  driver died and charges are pending against the other. Alcohol is a suspected factor.

 

A  man from Thibodaux is in the Lafourche  Parish  Detention  Center amid  allegations  he  stole  cerebral  palsy  donations  from a gas station.  Police say about $40 was stolen and Frank McKenzie's  bail is set at $18,000.

 

Grambling Police say a Houston  woman  is  dead after being hit by a car early.  Police say 58 year  old  Diane  Watson was walking  in  the  middle of the road when she was run over. She  was pronounced dead at the scene.  They believe an autopsy will indicate she was intoxicated.. .

 

Law enforcement officials have  ramped  up  patrols  around  the LSU lakes  after  some who jog there have expressed concerns about their safety. A woman  was  choked  unconscious during an evening run last month. Police say it's still a  safe  place  to  work out, they just encourage joggers to remain vigilant of their surroundings.

 

Jury selection has begun in Baton Rouge for the trial of 33-year-old Dustin Musso - accused  of  murdering  his  own grandfather in 2009, then setting his house on fire to try to cover  it  up.  An  autopsy showed 76-year-old Pete Musso Jr. died from trauma to the head,  and smoke  inhalation  from the fire. Prosecutors waived a death penalty in order to get the younger Musso to trial faster.

 

Organizers of the annual Essence Festival in  New  Orleans say their headliner next July 4th weekend will be none other than Prince. It's not known what night he will top the billing, but the  festival goes on July 3rd through 6th in the Superdome. Tickets have already  gone on sale - six months in advance.

 

Sports..

Senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger has a torn anterior cruciate ligament and will not play in LSU’s bowl game, ESPN reported Tuesday night. The team plans to address the issue publically today.

Mettenberger suffered the injury midway through the fourth quarter in LSU’s 31-27 comeback win over Arkansas on Friday.

 

Tulane announced  yesterday  that it has accepted a bid to play in the New Orleans  Bowl.  The  Green  Wave  will face the Ragin Cajuns at the Mercedes Benz  Superdome  on  Saturday  December   21st. It's Tulane's  first  bowl  game  since 2002, when it beat Hawaii in  the Hawaii Bowl.

News For Tuesday 12/3/13


News for Tuesday 120313

By Dave Graichen

 

So after a crazy week of college football,  it  looks  like  LSU  is probably  going  to  the  Cotton Bowl. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says things are falling into  place for The Bayou Bengals to head to

Arlington after Auburn's crazy  win  over Alabama Saturday...sending them to the SEC Championship game. The Bowl Selection show will air Sunday on ESPN.

 

The  state  Legislative  Auditor   releases  a  report  showing  the Department of Revenue failed to collect millions in unpaid severance taxes from oil & gas companies. Nicole  Edmonson, with the Auditor's office  says  there  were several problems,  ranging  from  computer software  issues to not  verifying  information  provided  by  those companies.  She says  they're not sure exactly how much money oil & gas companies owe the state.

 

The state Board of Elementary & Secondary Education will meet today to consider a slow-down of implementing more stringent performance  standards for schools, teachers and students known as Common Core. After much protest from parents, educators and the state school board association, Education  Superintendent John White is proposing changes to BESE that will delay  full implementation of Common Core.

 

A New Orleans man is behind bars  for  manslaughter after confessing to a hit and run that claimed the life of  a 29 year old woman and a 2 year old child Sunday morning. Ervin Freeman  is also charged with one count of felony hit and run.

 

A Lafayette  Councilman says there are too many dollar stores in his area and he wants  to  do something about it. Kenneth Boudreaux says there are 30 Dollar General  and  Family  Dollar stores in Lafayette Parish.  He reportedly feels the discount stores  hurt  neighborhood businesses.

 

The University of Louisiana System has teamed with the website and app  "MyEDU" to guide students in their career path and help employers find  qualified help. UL System President Sandra Woodley says they just  launched MyEDU last month, and student signups are growing fast  without a promotional campaign.  Dr. Woodley says about 14 thousand of the UL System's 90-thousand students have already signed up.

 

State and local officials have discussed ways to make the Interstate 49 interchange safer at U-S 190 in Opelousas. Mayo  Don Cravins says it's  a  dangerous  intersection and there's been over 40  accidents with injuries over the  past  few  years.  He says there's  been talk about improving the safety at the I-49/US 190 interchange for  the  last  decade,  but it's becoming more of a problem because the traffic volume in that area has increased.

 

The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's office says a man from Houma is dead after he fell off a houseboat during a  hunting trip. They say Wayne Cancienne (KAHN'-si-en) was located after  the weekend floating next to the houseboat. The death is being ruled an accident.

 

The old Mississippi River Bridge which connects Baton Rouge and Port Allen, is getting a makeover. Chris Guidry  is  the assistant bridge design administrator for the Louisiana Department of Transportation. He says the 73 year old bridge was in rough shape. As a matter of fact, If there were no  repairs, the bridge would be lucky to last another 20 years. He says they hope to have the $100 million project done by 2016.

 

The City Council in Thibodaux is expected to vote on the saggy pants  ban tonight after they hear comments from the public. The Lafourche  Parish Council passed a similar ordinance in 2007, but it doesn't  apply in Thibodaux. Mayor Tommy Eschete says the ordinance has a lot  of support, but the decision is ultimately up to the Council.

 

Sports..

 

It was a good night for the  New Orleans Pelicans last night as they claimed a  131-128 victory over the Chicago Bulls in triple overtime..

 

On the other hand.. not a good night for the saints.. Seattle Seahawks became the first team to clinch a spot in the NFC playoffs with a 34-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.

 

 

News For Monday 12/2/13


News for Monday 120213

By Dave Graichen

 

State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon agrees to implement an  adjustment to Obamacare that would allow many consumers, facing  cancellation of their current health insurance, to keep their plans one  more year. John Maginnis, with Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana says they will honor Donelon's decision, and try to extend all coverage that had previously been slated for cancellation for one more year.

 

On the surface it looks like the School voucher plan is doing just what it is supposed to do. But, one report says, we need to take a closer look. New data indicate that many students in Louisiana's voucher program attended schools that were graded D or F on the state's grading scale. At least 45 percent of the nearly 5,000 students in the program last year attended such schools. However, an investigative piece in the Times-Picayune say the report is not complete. It appears the state released scores only for one-fifth of the 118 voucher schools. Those were schools with at least 40 voucher students in the third grade and up. They served about 2,900 of the nearly 5,000 students in the program last year.

 

Today has been designated Cyber Monday; a day to make your online  holiday purchases, but state officials remind you those purchases are  not tax-free. Louisiana Department of Revenue spokesman Byron Henderson  says some websites will add the 8% applicable state tax to your  purchases, but a greater number still do not. State law requires you must pay the state tax if they don’t collect it.  Henderson says you can go online to "revenue.louisiana.gov" and  download the consumer use tax return to report your online purchases.

 

The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially ended Saturday, having  produced the fewest actual hurricanes since 1982. Stacy Stewart, with  the National Hurricane Center says The 2013 storm season saw 13 named storms, which was slightly above  normal, as predicted. However, there were only two hurricanes – Humberto  and Ingrid in September. Neither of those reached a strength of Category  3 or higher.

 

We'll get another chance to hear Shreveport's Cole Vosbury tonight on  the extremely popular NBC singing competition show, "The Voice." Cole  is now a part of the top 6 after advancing last week. The show airs tonight at 7 on KALB TV5. The results show is tomorrow night at 8

 

 As 2013 draws nearer to a close, Congress is concentrating on getting  some important bills passed. Senator Mary Landrieu says one she is  working hard to get to the President's desk would fix the Biggert-Waters  Flood Insurance Reform, which calls for drastically high premium hikes.  Landrieu says another matter of importance to get through Congress  before year's end is funding for the Morganza-to-the Gulf Flood  Protection plan. and a new Farm Bill. She says the  prices we all pay for our groceries relies on having an effective  federal Farm Bill in place.

 

There's reason that Natchitoches is known as the City of Lights. City  tourism spokeswoman Samantha Bonnette says a Yahoo! travel blogger  ranks the Natchitoches Festival of Lights as the NO. 3 top Holiday  Light show in the nation after Rockefeller Center and Disneyland.  Bonnette says some estimates show that over 250,000 people attend the  Festival of Lights throughout its 45 nights of lights, which ends on January 6th.

 

Louisiana's Office of Tourism has been named the top tourism office  among the 14 southeastern states. Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne oversees  tourism in the state. He says the designation from the Southeast Tourism  Society is a real honor. Dardenne says Louisiana is more popular as a travel destination with the  nation, and the rest of the world, than it has ever been.

 

The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office says a hunter who was not wearing a life jacket died when his boat hit a branch and capsized before dawn Saturday  in heavy fog, dumping him and a friend into the Atchafalaya River. A news release from the sheriff’s department says the second hunter was wearing a life jacket. He swam to the river bank and called for help.

 

Sports..

 

The Saints and the Seahawks battle each other in Seattle tonight in a  match-up of the two best teams in the NFC. The winner will be in the  driver's seat to secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  There's a good chance of rain, and the temperature will be around 40.  Seattle brings a 13-game home winning streak into the game.

 

LSU moved up one spot to No. 14 in both the Associated Press and USA/Today Coaches polls and is No. 15 in the BCS standings. The Tigers (9-3) continue to remain the highest-ranked three-loss team in all three rankings.

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