News for Friday 053014
By Dave Graichen
Governor Bobby Jindal signed a couple of bills into law to support Veterans late Wednesday. One would increase information available to doctors to improve health issues that service members often deal with. The other would expand residential lease protections for military members and their families.
There's a new law waiting to be signed by the governor that would allow state lawmakers to carry concealed weapons in areas that any other peace officer could. That would include several locations labeled as "gun free" zones. If it is signed, they would be able to pack heat in public buildings , parades and polling places.
A vacation turned deadly for a 21 year old Pineville man. Authorities at Navarre beach Florida say Nathan Hughey drowned while swimming with his sister in rough waters. The sister was able to make it to shore safely. Hughey was a graduate of Pineville High School and was a student at Louisiana Tech University at the time of his death. The accident happened yesterday.
The city of Alexandria’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day is set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Alexandria City Complex, 2021 Industrial Park Road (under the big red roof).
Citizens are encouraged to bring in Household chemicals, Automotive chemicals, Garden and pool chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Household recyclables. Not welcome, Ammunition, tires, explosives, commercial waste and laboratory waste. Again the event is tomorrow 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Alexandria city complex.
Gov. Bobby Jindal is going to sign into law today a bill called "The Right to Try" Act which would allow terminally ill patients to access experimental medications that could save their life. The Goldwater Institute designed this measure and External Affairs Vice President Victor Riches says The Right to Try Act enables people with very little time left to receive potentially life-saving medications that have been deemed safe by the FDA but are years away from being approved for market.
Governor Jindal has signed into law a bill that adds domestic abuse to the criteria for immediate divorce. The new law waives the 180 day waiting period for a divorce involving domestic abuse. It also makes spousal support mandatory.
The legislature has given final legislative approval to a law that would extend the drivers license renewal time to every 6 years instead of 4. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor says he decided to
draft this legislation after hearing so many complaints about the wait time at the DMV. The 6 year fee would be increased, but over time it would end up being the same amount of money.
The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's office reports a high school teacher and track coach is under arrest for his alleged sexual involvement with a 16-year-old male student. They say 37-year-old Derrick Nesby of New Orleans, the educator from UL Bourgeois High School, was arrested and booked with felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile.
A former worker at the Department of Children and Family Services faces up to 10 years in prison for using a state issued purchase card for personal use. 34-year-old Delrice Augustus has pleaded guilty in federal court to the crime. State Inspector General Stephen Street says Augustus defrauded DCFS out of as much as 200-thousand dollars. Augustus has admitted to using government purchase cards to buy home entertainment electronics, a dishwater, and other personal items.
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has been granted a delay in sentencing by U.S. District Court Judge Helen Ginger Berrigan. Nagin was scheduled for sentencing June 11 on 20 counts of corruption, including bribery, conspiracy, money laundering and fraud. The new date is July 2nd.
The House has given final passage of a bill requiring women who are seeking an abortion to receive a pamphlet that explains the potential psychological effects of going through with the
procedure. The bill passed 87-0.
The Catfish Institute is raising concerns about the mislabeling of seafood products in restaurants. They say studies by media and consumer organizations find as much as 25 to 50 percent of seafood is mislabeled. Institute spokesperson Jeff McCord says this happens frequently with catfish. Often Vietnamese catfish-type species are offered on menus as catfish. However, it is against the law. Only an American species of channel catfish may be labeled as catfish for any marketing purposes, including menus.
Governor Jindal has signed a measure that will allow hunters in the state to use a sound suppressor on their guns for recreational hunting. The legislation will go into effect August 1. The bill's sponsor, Metairie Representative Cameron Henry says the use of silencers is better for the shooter's hearing and mitigates noise complaints.
News for Thursday 052914
By Dave Graichen
Two men have been arrested in connection with a drive-by shooting in Alexandria Tuesday night that left one person dead and two others wounded. Alexandria Police say 28-year-old Quantrella Turner of Alexandria was pronounced dead at the scene. 21-year-old Lajavas Hall and 25-year-old Cinquanta Hall, both of Alexandria, were arrested for the shooting.
A lot of rain fell across the state yesterday, especially in south Louisiana. There were several reports of street and property flooding. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the upper air low that caused all
of that rain yesterday is still basically in place and we could see heavy rains again today. The dry conditions of the past few weeks helped with flooding issues yesterday due to the soil soaking in the rainfall. Keim says that won't be the case today since the soil is saturated. Most of the state is under a Flash Flood Watch through this evening
First-time claims for unemployment insurance increased in Louisiana for the week ending May 17. The Louisiana Workforce Commission said there were 134 more initial claims than the previous week. However, continued unemployment claims decreased by 380 .
Some of the biggest stars in the republican party will be in New Orleans over the next few days speaking at the Republican Leadership Conference. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says it's an important event for those individuals who plan to run for President in 2016. Governor Bobby Jindal is scheduled to address the conference tonight. Another potential GOP presidential candidate speaking is Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame is also set to speak.
House legislation that would allow Louisiana to use out of state pharmacies to obtain drugs used in lethal injections passed in committee Tuesday and now heads to the full Senate. The same bill has a provision that would let pharmacies who provide the deadly compounds remain anonymous.
The sexual predator who is accused of the brutal murder of a twelve year-old boy has been given the death sentence in DeSoto Parish. Thirty-seven year-old Brian Horn was convicted in the killing of Justin Bloxom in March of 2010. Judge Robert Burgess passed judgment that Horn be sent to Angola to await his execution.
In an independent poll regarding the 2015 Lieutenant Governor's race, Jefferson Parish President John Young is the early leader. The survey of 600 likely voters was conducted by Southern Media and Opinion Research. The poll pitted a three-way trial heat between Young, Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, and Opelousas Senator Elbert Guillory. It is still early and you can expect a few more candidates throwing their hat in the ring. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says a couple of names interested in the position are Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and State Police Superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson
A bill that allows a truck stop owner in Iberville Parish to keep a live Tiger on the property of his store passed out of a House committee Wednesday. Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin says his 550-pound Siberian-Bengal tiger is well cared for and loved by the people who visit his truck stop off Interstate 10. Sandlin has been battling animal rights groups in the courts to keep Tony the Tiger at his truck stop. The measure has passed the Senate and needs House approval before the session ends Monday.
A bill that has received final legislative approval would make it easier for home-based cooks to start their own business with fewer regulations that are currently in place. The measure is
waiting for Governor Jindal's signature.
A Napoleonville man is charged with negligent homicide after a child died who was riding in a vehicle that he crashed. In happened Tuesday morning in Thibodaux and deputies say there were two adults and three children in the vehicle. They say an 11-year-old was ejected after 35-year-old Jermain Wooden tried to pass a car on a highway then lost control and crashed. The crash is under investigation.
In Shreveport a woman is recovering from multiple stab woulds after allegedly being attacked by an elderly man she was caring for. 75-year-old Walter Smith reportedly freaked out. He was arrested and booked with aggravated battery. The victim is listed in good condition.
Authorities in Ascension Parish say, a 56-year-old man who was found dead underneath his truck late Wednesday afternoon in his employer’s flooded parking lot might have slipped and fallen into swiftly moving water that swept him under the vehicle. The Water was flowing swiftly across the parking lot, and was probably 12 to 18 inches deep. Chief Deputy Tony Bacala said deputies are continuing to investigate but believe the death was accidental.
A grandma and grandpa from Wisconsin are happy campers today. They were visiting their grandchildren last weekend in Slidell and went home with a $1 million Powerball ticket. Lottery officials say they got all 5 numbers but missed the powerball.
News for Wednesday 052814
By Dave Graichen
Much needed rain is in the forecast this week across Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says it's coming at a good time, especially in southwest Louisiana which is experiencing drought
conditions. Keim says as of memorial day Lake Charles had only seen a tenth of an inch of rain this month.
The House Appropriations Committee has endorsed a $3.6 billion spending plan for public schools. The Minimum Foundation Program provides most of the money that funds public schools. The measure was approved without objection and now heads to the House Education Committee.
The state Department of Education says 69-percent of public school students who took the standardized test known as LEAP, achieved the basic or above level, which is the same percentage as last year. Superintendent of Education John White says 27-percent of students performed at the mastery level in English language arts and 25-percent of students also achieved the mastery level for math which is a slight increase from last year.
For the second year in a row, the Louisiana Senate Finance Committee killed legislation that would require review and oversight of contracts that would privatize services provided by state government.
The Senate Finance Committee voted 7-3 Tuesday to reject House Bill 128 after deferring a similar bill last year on a vote of 8-2. HB128 focused on the large contracts of more than $5 million that would, for example, replace the state workers running a prison or hospital with managers from a private company. Bobby Jindal’s staff had lobbied against the legislation.
The Vermillion Parish Sheriff's office is working the site of a crop duster crash Tuesday morning south of Gueydan. Sheriff Mike Couvillon confirms that the pilot is deceased, however the identity has not been released. Deputies have secured the scene and have contacted the FAA and NTSB.
The Bossier Parish Sheriff's office says a 7-year-old child drowned at the Cypress Black Bayou Reservoir east of Benton memorial day. They say Dawton Smith apparently wandered away from family and friends and was later found in the water.
The taxi cab driver who was convicted of first degree murder last month for the March 2010 death of 12-year-old Justin Bloxom of Stonewall will be formally sentenced today. A jury has already recommended that Brian Horn be sentenced to die.
Legislation is heading to Governor Jindal's desk that would prohibit groups associated with abortions from distributing health information at public schools. The Senate gave final legislative
approval. The legislation is aimed at Planned Parenthood, which supports abortion rights for women. A co-sponsor of the bill, Bogalusa Senator Ben Nevers, says the bill's purpose is to make sure children at public schools are not targeted by abortion organizations. Governor Jindal is expected to sign the measure into law.
A high-speed early-morning pursuit by police has resulted in the death of a young teen-aged driver trying to get away. Opelousas Police attempted to stop a stolen vehicle that was traveling the wrong way on Highway 190. The driver took off and eventually flipped the vehicle. Fifteen year-old Deontei Fuslier was pronounced dead at the scene. Three other teens in the vehicle we ejected and injured.
The "Deedy Slaughter Bill" has received final legislative approval in the Senate and now heads to Governor Jindal's desk. Port Allen Senator Rick Ward's legislation will prevent recalled elected
officials from running in the special election called to replace them during the same term. The measure is named for former Port Allen mayor Deedy Slaughter, who was recalled last November but also ran in the April special election that was aimed at replacing her.
A Senate resolution to develop an official brand, certification or label to mark products that come from Louisiana was approved by the House Tuesday. Legislators requested the state Department of Economic Development to report back to House and Senate agriculture and commerce committees by February 1.
Authorities in East Baton Rouge say they raided a very large cockfighting operation involving seventy-five roosters. EBR Animal Control and Rescue Center Executive Director Hilton Cole says they suspect it was someone at the fight who called in the complaint to the parish call center because they were upset about losing a bet in a fight.
It was all a mystery about the whereabouts of a woman from Loranger, who had been missing since 2009. Until this this past weekend. The remains of 45 year-old Dena Fout were found in a wooded area near Hammond by several boys who were hunting. Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office says they will conduct tests to attempt to establish an estimate of the time and cause of death.
It appears state lawmakers are getting out of a dispute between NFL players and Saints owner Tom Benson over workman's comp. Hammond Representative Chris Broadwater is pulling the bill from consideration for the legislative session. The bill, which was opposed by the NFL Players Association, would have calculated workers compensation for professional athletes based on recent, not future, earnings. Broadwater hopes the two sides can come to an agreement on their own.
News for Tuesday 052714
By Dave Graichen
New numbers from the Louisiana Workforce Commission show the Houma, Lafayette and Lake Charles metro areas had an unemployment rate below four-percent in April. LSU economist Loren Scott these areas of the state are benefiting from a boom in construction, because of new plants that are coming to the state. But Scott says not all areas of the state are doing well. The Louisiana
Workforce Commission says the Shreveport metro area's unemployment rate is near five-percent. He says that area of the state is still suffering from the closure of the General Motors plant in 2012 and cutbacks at Barksdale air force base.
The dean of political journalism in Louisiana has passed away. John Maginnis, publisher of lapolitics-dot-com, died Sunday at the age of 66. Maginnis wrote political books, a syndicated column and
published a newsletter that provided an inside look at state government. LSU mass communications professor Bob Mann says Maginnis will be sorely missed. Maginnis started on Louisiana political beat in 1972.
Governor Jindal has signed into law legislation that would allow concealed handgun permit holders to bring a gun into restaurants that serve alcohol, but make most of their money off food sales.
Bossier City Representative Jeff Thompson warns concealed handgun holders can have their premit revoked if they possess a gun in one of these establishments and have a blood alcohol reading greater than .05%. Thompson says business owners will have the right to prohibit guns
in their restaurant if they choose to do so.
The Louisiana Senate Finance Committee reversed many of the changes and adjustments made to the state budget proposal by the state House of Representatives. Yesterday, the committee approved the 25-billion dollar spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year and passed it on to the full senate.
Beginning with this year's Atlantic Hurricane season, the National Hurricane Center will begin issuing a Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map for areas along the coast at risk of storm surge from a tropical cyclone. Storm Surge Leader for the National Hurricane Center Jamie Rhome says this has been in the works for a while. The maps will predict how deep the water will be above ground and how far inland the water will go. They will be available 48 hours prior to landfall or during the watch and warning phases. Rhome says the map will change as a storm approaches the coast.
The 2014 legislative session will come to a close Monday. So, how has this session been going? UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says the session has been wandering since the beginning. 1,284 bills have been filed in the House and 685 in the Senate. Many of those will not survive. Of course, some of the biggest bills await final action in the final days of the session. Cross says Governor Jindal has spent quite a bit of time out of state during this session, which kept major legislation from getting approved this year.
The Bayou Country Superfest wrapped up Sunday night with performances from Louisiana’s own Hunter Hayes and Jason Aldean. Organizers say the three-day country music festival had a record setting turnout of 135-thousand fans.
The NCAA Baseball Tournament field has been announced. Eighth seed LSU will host Houston, Bryant, and Southeastern Louisiana in regional action. In the Lafayette Regional, UL-Lafayette, the number six seed, will host Jackson State, San Diego State, and Mississippi State. Both regionals kick off Friday.
News for Friday 052314
By Dave Graichen
In the past, Governor Bobby Jindal was an active supporter of the Common Core Education curriculum. But not anymore. In a statement sent out by Governor Bobby Jindal, he compares Common Core to centralized planning in Russia. Jindal says the feds are taking over the new academic standards for public schools and adds that education is best left to local control. BESE President Chas Roemer says Common Core is not a federally run program and it provides freedom to local educators to decide on how and what they'll teach kids. He says the governor's statement is all about presidential politics.
Memorial Day weekend is the official kickoff to the summer travel season and according to AAA between Thursday through Monday a projected 36 million Americans will be hitting the road. American Automobile Association spokesperson Don Redman says this is the most people traveling for the Holiday weekend since the start of the recession.
The big Bayou Country Superfest in Baton Rouge kicks off tonight with mega stars Reba Mcentire and George Strait hitting the stage in Tiger Stadium. The massive country music festival also features performances this weekend by Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line and Eric
Church. The Holiday weekend festival now spans three days and has become a major economic boost for Baton Rouge.
Legislation that would allow domestic violence situations be grounds for an immediate divorce has won final legislative approval. New Orleans Senator J.P. Morrell's bill now heads to the Governor's desk. The bill would waive the waiting period for divorce where a spouse or child has been abused by the other spouse and when a protective order or injunction has been issued against the other spouse. It passed 35 to nothing.
NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is predicting a 50 percent chance of a below-normal Atlantic Hurricane Season this year. Their 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook calls for a 70 percent likelihood of 8 to 13 named storms, 3 to 6 hurricanes, and 1 to 2 major hurricanes.
All eyes on the governor's desk for the signing of the Optometry bill that got final legislative approval Wednesday. The bill that is widely opposed by the medical community passed on the Senate Floor 25-12.
Legislation that would mandate the LHSAA to use third party arbitration when settling player eligibility disputes has passed on the House floor. The Senate bill is inspired by a 19-year-old
Episcopal student from a "hardship" situation who is too old to play football his senior year. The measure narrowly advanced on a 54-38 vote and has to go back to the Senate for amendment considerations.
A bill that would require homeowners’ insurance firms to disclose their annual losses and premiums by ZIP code won final legislative approval Thursday. The House voted 83-0 to go along with Senate changes to the House-passed bill, which was the final legislative step. The bill would require the state Department of Insurance to compile the data and post the totals online.
Well the LSU did it again, in game 2 of the SEC tournament . The tigers defeated Arkansas 7 to 2. The Tigers will have the day off today and return to face the winner of Florida and Ole Miss on Saturday at noon in a single elimination game. An interesting stat: LSU has now outscored its opponents 74-7 over the past six games.
News for Thursday 052214
By Dave Graichen
According to an article in today’s Town Talk, The Fort Buhlow Bridge connecting Alexandria and Pineville won’t be finished this year as had been planned. And it likely won’t be next year either. The opening of the bridge, which will replace the O.K. Allen Bridge, now is projected for January or February 2016. The problem, some very hard clays on the Pineville side, which affected construction of the pier for that side of the bridge. One span of the new bridge should be open by the end of this year or in early 2015.
An Alexandria man has been charged with second-degree murder in the slaying of a man Tuesday afternoon at a Monroe Street store in Alexandria. The suspect, 18-year-old Jarvis Jackson is accused of shooting 25 year old Denardo Boyd of Alexandria, about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in the parking lot of the Save Most store on Monroe Street. No motive has been given.
Even though it’s allowed in 40 of our 50 states, Louisiana residents will not be able to purchase raw milk any time soon. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee rejected the proposal yesterday. Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain read the CDC's statement on the matter and as you may suspect, they are not for the change in the law. The bill was shot down on a 4-to1 vote.
Governor Jindal says he will sign legislation that could lead to the closure of three of the state's five abortion clinics. The House gave final legislative passage to a bill that would require abortion
doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The new rules are similar to a recent law passed in Texas. The bill received final legislative approval on an 88-5 vote.
A House bill that would require a brain dead pregnant woman to be kept alive under doctors’ orders while the baby develops heads to the upper chamber for final legislative passage.
Medicaid expansion efforts died Wednesday for the 2014 legislative session while a plan to test Gov. Bobby Jindal’s national health care plan in Louisiana sailed through the Louisiana Senate. The House Health and Welfare Committee, as expected, killed three separate measures proposing different approaches, including by-passing Gov. Bobby Jindal and letting the voters decide the issue. Later in the day, the Senate voted 35-1 to advance legislation under which the state health agency would develop a health care plan using Jindal’s “America Next” outline.
The Louisiana State Police is set to swear in 46 new Troopers today in Baton Rouge. This is their first graduating cadet class in five years. State Police Superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson says the cadets went through 19 weeks of training to get here. Edmonson says another Academy class will start in December and if you are interested, you can register online at lsp.org.
Governor Jindal has signed into law a bill prohibiting speed cameras on Louisiana's interstates. The measure by Sulphur Representative Michael Danahay was one of a few bills taken up this legislative session regarding speed traps and the only one to succeed so far.
The Senate gave final legislative passage to a bill prohibiting dogs from riding unrestrained in the bed of a pickup on the interstate. Under this measure dogs could still ride in the bed of a truck on the
interstate, but they would have to be humanely secured so they could not jump out. The vote was 30-to-7 in favor of the bill. It now awaits the Governor’s signature.
With the rise of heroin deaths in Louisiana in the past year, the Legislature paid attention and passed a bill that would give judges the ability to sentence a second offense of distribution up to a
maximum of 99 years. After the 27-11 vote, it's on its way to the Governor's desk to be signed. The current law is a 50 year maximum.
Welfare recipients would be unable to use their federal benefits at liquor stores, nail salons, bars, cruise ships and psychic businesses under legislation that cleared a Senate committee Wednesday.
The Senate Committee on Health and Welfare also tackled food stamp recipients. The panel advanced legislation that would cut off grocery assistance for Tangipahoa Parish residents without small children unless they seek an education or job training.
An attempt to establish guidelines for the Tulane legislative scholarship program in state law ran into a dead end Wednesday. The Louisiana House and Governmental Affairs Committee voted 6-1 to reject a state Senate-passed measure putting the scholarships off-limits to certain elected officials and their relatives and requiring transparency over the awarding of the $46,000-a-year scholarships controlled by legislators.
A bill allowing active duty and retired law enforcement officials to carry a gun in almost all public places is now awaiting the Governor's signature. The measure does not apply to courthouses and
officers would be subject to individual regulations set by their department. The bill passed on an 81-11 vote.
In the SEC tournament yesterday, LSU pounded Vanderbilt 11-1, setting up their second game against the Arkansas Razorbacks this afternoon. the Razorbacks took out Ole Miss by a score of 2-1. Airtime 4 this afternoon. First pitch 4:30.
The House Criminal Justice Committee has passed a measure that would allow the Department of Corrections to have the ability to search for alternative methods to carry out capital punishments, if the drugs for lethal injections cannot be found. The bill sponsored by Metairie Representative Joe Lopinto now moves to the House floor for debate.
News for Wednesday 052114
By Dave Graichen
Word is construction to renovate the Rapides parish coliseum could begin this summer with construction to be completed in the later part of 2015. Alliance Design Group, headed up by Bill Tudor, is now in the review process with the state Fire Marshal’s Office and soon will submit plans to the city of Alexandria. Once permitting is finished, the Rapides Parish Police Jury can advertise for bids from contractors, a process that should take 30 to 45 days.
The Alexandria Police are investigating shooting at a the Monroe street Save-Most store yesterday afternoon at about 4:30. Police say one man was shot. His name and condition are unknown at this time. So far, there have been no arrests.
Flicking a cigarette butt out of your car window could get you slapped with a hefty fine and community service. Governor Bobby Jindal has signed a bill into law that labels cigarette butts as
litter and allows the fines.
New Orleans has lost its bid to host the 2018 Superbowl game. The announcement was made today that Minneapolis will host the big game. At that meeting, it was reported that Saints owner Tom Benson suffered a fall from the podium, and was taken to the hospital. A spokesman said Benson seems to be ok.
Lapolitics.com reports the Jindal administration is on the verge of borrowing 56-million dollars from the state treasury to pay for expenses at Louisiana’s universities. Lapolitics reporter Jeremy Alford says this is in addition to the 70-million dollars that's already been borrowed to pay for higher ed, because contingency revenues have yet to materialize. The Jindal administration received a 30-million dollar loan from the state treasury in April and then another loan for 40-million dollars.
The Louisiana Senate Tuesday approved legislation that would clarify how landowners could file “legacy lawsuits” seeking to clean up years-old environmental damage. Senators voted 27-12 to send Senate Bill 667 to Gov. Bobby Jindal for his signature turning it into law.
Schools and school districts across the state are preparing to receive the results from the "LEAP" and "iLEAP' tests. "LEAP" tests are given to fourth and eighth graders and factors in whether a
student will be promoted or given remedial work. "iLEAP" tests assess student progress in grades three, five, six, and seven. The Department of Education will be releasing a report on
the numbers in the next few days.
The state House rejects legislation that would have allowed the state Department of Education to survey high school students about their sexual behaviors. The measure failed on a vote of 38 yeas and 55 nays. The bill's sponsor, Baton Rouge Representative Patricia Smith, says the answers from these questionnaires could help experts develop programs that would prevent teenagers from engaging in sexual behaviors. But the House didn't see it that way and voted the legislation down.
The bill that would allow raw milk to be sold in Louisiana will be heard in a Senate committee today. House Bill 1279, by Carencro Representative Stephen Ortego, passed the House on a 78-19 vote on May 7th. Supporters say raw milk can be used to treat health issues such as asthma and osteoporosis. 40 states allow raw milk sales to consumers.
Former Saints safety Steve Gleason is recovering from surgery to help him breathe as he continues his battle with the degenerative brain disease, ALS. Clare Durrett with Team Gleason says his recovery is going really well. Gleason tweeted after the operation. "I am persistent like a banana tree. Cut me down and I will be back before you know it"
A bill that would put curbs on the use of cellphones by motorists in school zones won final legislative approval Tuesday. The proposal, House Bill 370, bans the use of hand-held cellphones in schoolzones during posted hours if there are signs in each direction that spell out the prohibition.
If you're going to Baton Rouge this weekend for Bayou Country Superfest your hotel might have a shuttle to Tiger Stadium. The Capital Area Transit System is offering service from several area and downtown hotels to Death Valley for just $10 round-trip and $5 one way.
News for Tuesday 052014
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish School Board today will hear a report on an application to open a public charter school in Alexandria. The district received an application March 7 from the Louisiana Charter Foundation, Inc., which has partnered with Charter Schools USA, for Alexandria Charter Academy to open for the 2015-16 school year. After hearing public comment and a report from a consultant , the School Board is expected to take action regarding the school..
A 3.6 billion dollar spending plan for public schools was approved by a Senate committee Monday. The Minimum Foundation Program provides much of the financial assistance for nearly 700,000 public school students. It passed the Senate Finance committee on a 10-to-1 vote.
The Louisiana Garden Club Federation has named the City of Pineville the “2014 STATE’S CLEANEST CITY”. Pineville won Category “G”, which was for cities with populations between 9,500 and 14,999. Pineville was competing against the Cities of Crowley, Abbeville and River Ridge in the State finals. The city of Alexandria was also a big winner coming in in first place ahead of Monroe for category I cities..
A bill that attempts to reduce the number of state consulting contracts has been approved by the Senate Finance Committee. The proposal would give the legislature the ability to reject contracts over 40-thousand dollars. State treasurer John Kennedy says any savings generated would go towards higher education. The measure still needs approval from the full senate and then it would
go back to the House, to see if they agree with senate changes.
The police taser death of a Winnfield man is being brought up again, this time by the U.S. Supreme Court. A Winnfield Police officer tased a suspect, Baron Pikes seven times backing January of 2008. The appeals court had already dismissed the civil rights lawsuit by the deceased man's son. But now, the Supreme Court is asking the court of appeals to take another look at the case.
Coming up for debate on the House floor Today is legislation that would allow public school students to be surveyed anonymously on sexual issues. Louisiana ranks 8th in the nation for the number of teen pregnancies and 2nd in the nation for std’s. Supporters of the bill say there is currently no way to evaluate the problem in order to form a solution. Opponents do not see how this bill will do anything to solve those problems.
A woman and two children who are missing in a densely wooded area of St. Martin Parish after a four-wheeler excursion Sunday, have been found safe and sound. A multiagency search Monday involving helicopters, K-9 search teams, and police on foot and all-terrain vehicles combed an area between Parks and St. Martinville. The trio were found late last evening.
Louisiana’s income forecasting panel Monday rejected a push by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration to boost revenue forecasts by $118 million next year, instead choosing a more conservative $65 million increase. Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield told the Revenue Estimating Conference that an outside consulting firm hired by the Jindal administration identified ways for his agency to bolster tax collection efforts and bring in more money for the state treasury. But some members of the conference, which decides how much money state lawmakers and the governor have to spend each year, refused to consider the enhanced collection efforts in the forecast for the 2014-15 fiscal year, saying there’s no way to know if those dollars would appear.
The 2014 Louisiana Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday happens this Saturday and Sunday. It gives residents the chance to get ready for storm season before the Atlantic Hurricane Season starts on June 1. Byron Henderson of the State Department of Revenue says you can buy emergency supplies without having to pay the 4% state sales tax. Flashlights, batteries, portable generators, and other emergency will be exempt from state sales taxes this weekend. For a full list of state tax exempt items, go online to revenue.louisiana.gov/hurricaneprep.
Metairie Representative Cameron Henry has been named one of the country's "40 political rising stars under 40" by The Washington Post. The 39-year-old Republican has been an outspoken critic of Governor Jindal's budgeting tactics and is one of the leaders of a conservative group of legislators known as the fiscal hawks.
Police in Bossier City say they've made an arrest in connection with the Mother's Day murders of two women. They say 26-year-old Brandan Butler was taken into custody 2am Saturday by officials in Bogalusa. His bond is set at $2 million dollars. A million for each victim.
A big announcement is coming today from the NFL Owner's Meeting in Atlanta. New Orleans, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis are in contention to host Super Bowl 52 in 2018. Minnesota sports reporter David Leatherman says Minneapolis's bid hinges on a brand new stadium projected to open in 2016 The NFL, historically, has awarded Super Bowl to markets that have erected new stadiums. Minneapolis last hosted a Super Bowl in 1992, while Indianapolis and New Orleans last hosted Super Bowls in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
The LSU Tigers are in Hoover, Alabama getting ready for the SEC Tournament. The tourney starts today, but since the Tigers finished in the top four of the conference standings, LSU doesn't play until
tomorrow morning. Since 2008, LSU has won the SEC Tournament four times. The Tigers bring
a four-game winning streak into this year's event.
News for Monday 051914
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana's longest serving agriculture commissioner, Bob Odom, passed away Saturday at the age of 78. Governor Bobby Jindal issued a statement ordering all flags at state buildings be flown half staff for the man he called a champion for the Louisiana agriculture community. Odom, a staunch Democrat, served as Agriculture Commissioner from 1980 to 2007 and some say he was one of Louisiana's most influential elected officials.
Law enforcement agencies from around the state are participating in a statewide "Click It or Ticket" campaign that kicks off today. Louisiana law says that everyone inside a vehicle is required to wear a seat belt. State Police spokesman Sgt. Nick Manale says the message is simple , "Seat Belts, Save Lives". The campaign runs through June 1st, which includes Memorial Day, traditionally among the worst holidays for traffic deaths in Louisiana.
It's graduation season and Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Curt Eysink says there's more opportunity for graduates now than ever before in The Bayou State. He says there is a really healthy job market in a number of sectors throughout Louisiana. Eysink says whether you have a degree from a technical or community college, or a four year university -- you're in great shape here. He says not only do we have overall growth in our labor markets, but there are more than 60 billion dollars’ worth of projects coming to our state and most of those have yet to get started. The state’s labor force is currently at a record high.
We're now two weeks away from the end of what some are calling one of the most quiet legislative sessions we've had in Louisiana under Governor Bobby Jindal's Administration. Jeremy Alford with
Lapolitics.com says by far the biggest issue left for lawmakers to work out is the funding mechanism for public schools.
The Supreme Court could take its first look at police use of stun guns in a case involving the death of a Louisiana man who was shocked by police eight times after he had been handcuffed. The justices could say on Monday whether they will hear the case of Baron Pikes in the fall. They are being asked to review a lower court ruling that dismissed a civil rights lawsuit filed on behalf of Pikes’ young son against a former police officer in the central Louisiana town of Winnfield. The justices have previously rejected appeals from victims of stun gun use and from police in state and federal court cases.
Amnesty International says more than 540 people have died following police use of stun guns in the U.S. since 2001.
LSU’s main campus is going tobacco-free this fall. The Louisiana Legislature approved a law last year requiring colleges and universities to develop their own “smoke-free” policies. That legislation, which serves as an addendum to the Louisiana Smoke-Free Air Act that prohibits smoking in some public places and workplaces, states that colleges also can go the extra step of excluding all tobacco. LSU already limits smoking to designated areas, but advocates have pushed to further make the campus free of any tobacco products.
The Saints held a rookie mini-camp this past weekend and it was an opportunity for first round pick Brandin Cooks to get familiar with his new team. The former Oregon State wide out says he's excited
about playing with Quarterback Drew Brees and for head coach Sean Payton. Cooks says the adjustment hasn't been too bad, since the Saints offense is similar to the one he played in college. He's just five-foot-ten, 189 pounds, but doesn't think his size will work against him in the NFL.
The NFL Owner's Meeting gets underway today in Atlanta and one of the items on the agenda will be who gets to host Super Bowl 52 in 2018. The Big Easy is in the running along with Minneapolis and Indianapolis. Greater New Orleans Foundation president Jay Cicero says they'll make their final pitch before the vote tomorrow. New Orleans last hosted the Super Bowl in 2013 and that injected 480 million dollars into the economy
A great weekend for the LSU tiger baseball team. In the crucial season-ending series at Auburn, LSU swept by scores of 10-0, 11-3 and 8-1.
News for Friday 051614
By Dave Graichen
National Safe Boating week gets underway this weekend and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries reminds boaters to be safe, responsible, and knowledgeable while on the water. DWF spokesperson Adam Einck says there are two things you can always do to be safe on the water:
wear your life jacket and have a sober operator. Alcohol use is one of the leading causes of boating crashes and fatalities on the water. Einck reminds you that the same penalties apply whether you get a DWI on the water or on the road...
The state legislature will NOT make any changes to the taxpayer funded TOPS scholarship program. Mandeville Senator Jack Donahue filed legislation that attempted to reduce the cost of providing the merit based scholarships, but the republican said on the senate floor there's not enough support this year to pass his bills.
The House approves a bill that would give judges the authority to hand down a 99-year prison sentence if convicted for a second time on heroin distribution charges. The Black Caucus opposed the legislation. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James pointed out that you could do more time for dealing heroin than if you are convicted of manslaughter.
At the State Capital Thursday, the vote was unanimous. E-cigarette sales should be forbidden to anyone under the age of 18. The law will also include vaporizers and similar products. It is now on its way to the Governor's desk.
LSU says it's graduating its largest and most diverse class. Over 63-hundred students will participate in graduation ceremonies today and Saturday and out of that group, over 34-hundred are females, 570 are African American and 240 are Hispanic.
A measure that expands the state's ban on cockfighting passed the state House Thursday but not before a unique discussion. When this bill was brought up in the Senate, the big argument was whether or not it would make chicken boxing illegal. The legislation goes back to the Senate to see if they agree with House changes.
The Walker Police Department says a 23-year-old man is under arrest for allegedly killing his four week old daughter. Spokesman Captain John Sharp says the infant was brought in unable to breathe on its own on April 19th and was removed from life support this week. He says Franklin Finney admitted to being involved in the tragic crime...
A man from Bossier City was indicted Thursday for the murder of his wife almost 35 years ago. Caddo District Attorney Charles Scott says James H Montgomery is charged with second degree murder in the death of Deanna Montgomery. He says the tragic crime occurred on January 1,
1979. Scott says Deanna Montgomery, a mother of two young children, was killed by a shotgun blast to the head while she was in the front seat of a truck driven by her husband in Shreveport.
News for Thursday 051514
By Dave Graichen
It's mid-May but believe it or not, Louisiana is experiencing yet another cold front. State climatologist Barry Keim says the cool weather blew through yesterday causing many of us in Sportsman's Paradise to break out the jackets a little over a month before summer. Keim says morning temperatures ranged from the 40s across northern parishes and 50s along the southern half of the state. He says we can expect daily minimum temperature records to fall all across the state today and tomorrow.
The House has approved legislation the will lead to the closure of Huey P. Long hospital in Pineville. The move will force patients who use Huey P. Long to receive medical care at two nearby private hospitals as part of Governor Bobby Jindal's privatization plan. Marksville Representative Robert Johnson says the proposal will make it difficult for some to receive affordable health care. But Alexandria Representative Lance Harris says citizens will have plenty of options to obtain the health care they need. The House voted 65-29 to shut down Huey P. Long.
A bill that would mandate sex education in public schools was killed Wednesday by the House Education Committee. The vote was three in favor and 10 opposed. State Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge, pleaded with the panel to approve her bill to help combat Louisiana’s high rate of teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Opponents questioned the need for the proposal.
Today is the final day for Louisianans to file their individual state income tax returns for 2013. LA-Department of Revenue spokesman Byron Henderson says the majority of taxpayers have already done their state returns likely when they did their federal, but many still have not. Henderson says if you need more time to prepare your Louisiana taxes, you must at least file an extension by midnight tonight.
Legislation that requires abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their facility receives overwhelming support in the state Senate. The requirement is
similar to what Texas recently passed. Supporters say it will make sure abortion patients receive proper care if something goes wrong during or after the procedure. But pro-choice organizations say it closes three of the states five abortion clinics. the bill, now heads back to the House floor for final legislative passage.
Governor Bobby Jindal's approval ratings are on the rise. A poll by Southern Media and Opinion Research shows the Governor's positive job performance rating is at 48%. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says to appreciate that, you need to look back to the Spring of 2013 when Jindal's approval rating was at an all-time low of 38-percent. However, Jindal's negative rating remains slightly above his
positive at 51%. Jindal's positive rating has not exceeded his negative rating since September 2012.
Lawmakers have decided to raise the retirement age for public school teachers and rank and file state workers who are hired on or after July 1st, 2015. Currently those state workers can retire at the age of 60 with five years of service. The legislation that now heads to Jindal's desk would move that to 62 starting next summer.
Optometrists got another win yesterday as a Senate panel agreed they should be allowed to perform certain surgeries. HB 1065 has already cleared the House and now heads to the Senate floor. Representative Rogers Pope says the bill does not require people to do anything and
they could still go anywhere they wanted to get eye treatment. In opposition is Pamala Williams, a pediatric ophthalmologist in Baton Rouge. She says 90% of people polled in Louisiana say they
have the eye care they need available to them. In spite of the opposition, the bill advanced 7-to-1.
With the beginning of hurricane season just around the corner, another below average prediction has been released. Accuweather.com predicts 10 named tropical storms, five hurricanes, and two major hurricanes for the Atlantic Basin this year. Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski says however, you shouldn't let down your guard because of the low numbers. It is expected that the onset of El Nino will increase wind shear and suppress the development of tropical activity this year.
The state Senate tackled the politically charged issue of payday loans Wednesday night, spurning attempts to create databases and to limit borrowing. Debate on House Bill 766 triggered a flurry of amendments as legislators made one last effort to put limits on an industry that makes thousands of small loans each year in Louisiana. Each effort died, although not quietly. On a 28-10 vote, the Senate returned HB766 to the House for concurrence on minor changes. The measure would force online lenders to play by the same rules as lenders with brick-and-mortar locations in Louisiana, making them subject to state regulations.
A 27-year old Eunice man has been charged with third offense DWI after crashing into the back of a school bus in Allen Parish that injured two children and the bus driver. Dustin McGowen ran his pickup truck into the rear of the school bus that was lawfully stopped to drop off children Tuesday. The injured were taken to a local hospital with minor injuries.
A Central Lafourche High School student is in custody after making threats to set off a bomb at the school Wednesday. The school was placed on lockdown for a short time. The student has admitted to sending emails about the threat, but detectives deemed the threat to not be credible.
News For Wednesday 051414
By Dave Graichen
State tax returns and extension requests must be filed by tomorrow, May 15. The Louisiana Department of Revenue reminds everyone that electronic filing is the fastest way to submit returns
and get refunds processed.
Concealed weapons permit holders could carry their guns into restaurants that serve alcohol under a bill that’s headed to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s desk. The Louisiana Senate voted 37-2 for the House-passed measure, giving it final legislative passage.
A Southern Media and Opinion Research poll on the 2015 governor's race shows Senator David Vitter as the Republican choice and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu as the democratic favorite. Vitter and Landrieu each received 29-percent in a survey featuring 4 other potential candidates. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says Vitter is in good position. Landrieu, who just began a second term as mayor, has not indicated whether he plans to run for governor next year. Pinsonat says his poll shows Vitter would beat Landrieu in a run-off. He says it's also unclear who Vitter's biggest challenger will be if Landrieu doesn't run.
A bill to require sex education in public schools was debated, then delayed in the House Education Committee. House Education Committee Chairman Steve Carter said discussion on the measure will resume today. The proposal, House Bill 369, would apply to students in grades four through twelve.
Under current law, sex education in public schools is legal but not required.
A bill to allow public school students to be surveyed anonymously on sexual issues passes a House committee. Supporters of the bill say there is currently no way to evaluate the problem in order to form a solution. Tulane researcher Dr. Patty Kissinger says the situation among students is serious.
Students would be randomly selected to take part in the survey and would have the option to refuse to take it. The House Education Committee narrowly passed the bill on a seven to six vote.
A Louisiana Senate panel endorsed a revamp Tuesday of the system used to provide benefit increases for about 100,000 state pension system retirees. House Bill 1225 will reduce the debts of Louisiana’s four statewide pension systems. It ties future cost-of-living increases to the systems’ financial health. The committee action leaves the measure one step away from final legislative passage by the full Senate. Passage of HB1225 guarantees a 1.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment to retired state employees, teachers, school employees and State Police.
Legislation that would bar employers and schools from demanding access to social media, personal email and other online accounts received final legislative approval Tuesday. In an 88-0 vote, the Louisiana House shipped House Bill 340 to the governor’s desk, following minor changes from the Senate.
Legislation that seeks to have a person who's arrested on felony domestic abuse sit in jail without bail to "cool off" advances out of committee Tuesday. The bill now heard to the senate floor.
A bill which would take firearms out of the hands of domestic violence offenders received final legislative approval. HB 753 prohibits an abuser under a protective order from possessing a
gun and those convicted of domestic violence charges from possessing a firearm for a decade. The bill now heads to the governor.
Legislation that would set up a legal framework for surrogate births in Louisiana advanced to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s desk Tuesday. The state Senate voted 22-11 in favor of House Bill 187. The vote gave the bill final legislative passage, sending it to Jindal who can sign it, veto it or let it become law without his signature. Last year, the governor vetoed legislation that would have authorized courts to approve gestational surrogacy contracts when a husband and wife encounter medical problems in producing a child. The governor cited the range of opposition to the legislation. The loudest from the Louisiana family forum.
Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne has dropped his federal lawsuit over the use of the state's trademarked slogan "Pick Your Passion" on a political organization's billboard on I-10 near Baton Rouge. Last
month, a federal judge refused to order MoveOn dot org to take the billboard down while the the lawsuit was pending. The lawsuit was dismissed this week.
Beer sales inside Tiger Stadium could be on the way soon, according to LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva. Several schools already do. including ULM and U-L Lafayette. Alleva recognizes some people may be concerned beer sales could lead to poor fan behavior. The SEC prohibits beer sales to fans in the general seating area.
The Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense lawyers have announced opposition of Metairie Senator Joe Lopinto's bill that would keep the identification of manufacturers of lethal drugs for capital punishment confidential. It has already cleared the House Crimnal Justice committee, and Lopinto says not passing it would just muddy up the water. The debate is far from over, and it will carry over to the house floor.
The Senate agreed that a truck stop owner should be able to keep his tiger as a roadside attraction. The 20-18 vote allows Michael Sandlin to house his Bengal-Siberian mix tiger named Tony in a
sixteen hundred square foot facility in Grosse Tete.
News for Tuesday 051314
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria Police detectives are conducting a homicide investigation into the death of a 33-year-old Alexandria woman. The victim has been identified as Pamela Carnahan. Rapides Parish school officials had become concerned Friday when the mother of a child was not at the bus stop to pick up the child as she usually was.. They contacted relatives who checked the victim’s apartment at 4015 Lakeside Drive and located the body. Police have determined the death was a homicide, but the cause of death has not been released.
5th Congressional District Congressman Vance McAllister spoke yesterday at a Chamber of Commerce event here in Alexandria. The congressman, who was joined by his wife, Kelly, and one of their five children, 3-year-old daughter Eva, began his speech by apologizing for kissing a married staffer. McAllister also told the media that it's never been a secret that he was disliked by the GOP. McAllister says he plans to finish his term, but will not run for re-election. However, the congressman said later he’s leaving his “options open.”
The state Senate rejected legislation Monday night that sought to raise the eligibility requirements for TOPS, Louisiana’s merit-based college tuition program. After a two-hour debate on the Senate floor, Senate Bill 520 was voted down after it was amended to convert TOPS scholarships to a student loan, forgiven if students keep their eligibility during their first year of college. Several senators spoke out against the proposal, noting the outcome would be that fewer students would qualify.
For a second time in as many weeks, the Jindal administration could be facing problems with its Medicaid financing plans. The latest issue came to light Monday after the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fired a warning shot about the way states are pulling in federal dollars for health care programs. CMS outlined what states shouldn’t be doing and threatened to demand the repayment of dollars where warranted. In a nutshell, Louisiana did many of the things warned against by CMS, possibly foreshadowing another pricey unpinning of the state’s financial structures for health care programs. The state already is grappling with a rejection of hospital privatization plans that could put taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars.
The state’s top school board, showing rare harmony, approved revisions in its $3.6 billion spending plan for public schools after its initial proposal was killed by the Louisiana Senate Education Committee. The vote was 9-1. The changes, including revisions designed to avoid automatic school aid hikes in future years, won support from several influential school groups, including the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents.
Bossier City Police have identified the two women found dead Sunday morning. 24-year old Jacqueline Darlenen Beadle and 26-year old Karyl Ann Cox were found shot to death in their home. Beadle's mother found the bodies after going to the home having not heard from Jacqueline since Friday. The investigation is on-going.
The Beau Chene High School student killed in an automobile accident Monday morning in St. Landry Parish has been identified. 17-year old Nonchalant Guillory allegedly lost control of her vehicle in a curve and hit the side of a school bus driven by 56-year old Lawrence Robert. Guillory was unrestrained and succumbed to her injuries in a local hospital. Robert, who sustained minor injuries, was the only occupant of the school bus at the time of the crash.
An Angola inmate is a free man after spending 34 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Attorney Caroline Milne (MIL-nee) of the Innocence Project New Orleans says when Reginald Adams was found guilty in the murder of Cathy Ulfers, detectives and prosecutors intentionally withheld evidence that showed Adams was innocent.
A bill that increases the penalty for throwing cigarette butts out of car windows has received final legislative approval. The measure is by Marrero Representative Patrick Connick. It increases first
offense fines from $250 to $300 and keeps the community service penalties in place. The bill now awaits Governor Bobby Jindal's signature.
Legislation by New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno banning anyone under the age of 18 from using tanning beds has gotten final legislative approval. Currently, minors ages 14 to 18 can use tanning beds with written permission from a parent. The bill received unanimous approval from the House and now heads to the Governor's desk.
A Senate bill that would allow motorists to have any Louisiana university's logo put on their driver’s license passed in the House Transportation Committee. New Iberia Senator Fred Mills passed legislation last year that allowed the phrase, "I'm a Cajun" to be put on driver’s license which was the idea behind this bill. That same committee also agreed with a bill that would extend
driver’s license renewal from four years to six years. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor says the renewal fee over 12 years would remain the same, you would just have an extra two years before your drivers license expired. Both bills now head to the House floor.
State Troopers say it's a bad idea to show up at a police station drunk. But that's what one man allegedly did Saturday. Spokesman Jared Sandifer says 31-year-old Patrick Ruffner of Gonzales drove to Troop A to fill out a hit and run accident report, but a trooper who pulled in at the same time spoke with the man and noticed alcohol on his breath. Ruffner was then taken into the Troop and charges with 1st offense DWI and suspended license.
LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva spoke at the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday to discuss a number of ways they hope to improve the fan experience at Tiger Stadium. He says a top focus will be on traffic and working with city and parish leaders to invest in making it easier to get off campus as quickly as possible after games. Alleva says studies have shown LSU games have a huge economic impact on Baton Rouge and surrounding areas and it's critical to keep making improvements so that fans will want to come back.
News for Monday 051214
By Dave Graichen
Mother Nature cooperated over the weekend as large crowds filled the streets in Downtown Alexandria for Alex River Fête and the Louisiana Dragon Boat Races. Kelli West of the Alexandria/Pineville Convention and Visitors Bureau said. “The organizations involved really stepped up their game. The event, which was in its second year, is poised to become Alexandria’s premiere festival.
A poll conducted on the 5th District Congressional race shows state Senator Neil Riser as the leading Republican candidate, while Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo would be the top pick for the Democrats. The telephone survey was conducted by pollster Darrel Glascock of Pineville and paid for by a pro-gun lobby out of Washington, DC. Riser and Mayo have yet to officially announce whether they will run. So far there's only two announced candidates, former Grant Parish district attorney Ed Tarpley, who is a Republican and Libertarian Clay Grant of Boyce.
Voter registration week 2014 begins today. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says they are joining Registrars of Voters across the state with activities aimed at registering eligible citizens to vote. He
says Louisiana is already third in the country with 84% of eligible voters registered. Schedler says not only can you easily register to vote online at geauxvote.com , you can also go to your local Registrar of Voters office.
Louisiana’s top school board plans to hold a special, and possibly fiery, meeting Today to amend its $3.6 billion spending request and resurrect the proposal in the Legislature. The key change would prevent automatic education increases in the future, which Senate Education Committee Chairman Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, cited when his committee killed the initial plan on May 2. However, superintendents, school board leaders and teacher union representatives may argue that funding increases of at least 2.75 percent are needed annually, even if the Legislature fails to agree on a plan, because of rising retirement, health insurance and other costs.
The issue at dispute is called the Minimum Foundation Program, which is the key funding source for nearly 700,000 public school students statewide for the 2014-15 school year. Just over two years ago, the state employee health insurance program had a half-billion dollars in reserves. Now, the fund balance available to help cover medical claims is half that amount. While the reasons for the precipitous decline are in dispute, it occurred as the Jindal administration reduced insurance premiums and claims payments grew, eating into reserves. More than 250,000 state employees, their dependents and retirees as well as some school system employees rely on the Group Benefits program.
It seems that the nursery industry in Louisiana is booming this spring. The unusually cold winter damaged landscapes and now home gardeners and landscapers are replacing those plants. LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings says this is great for business. He says retail and wholesale sales are up 10 to 20 percent from this time last year.
The state department of environmental quality says the air quality in the capital city has improved and they're pushing for EPA to declare the five-parish Baton Rouge area as attaining the health-based ozone standard. Michael Vince with D-E-Q says currently Baton Rouge is labeled as non-attainment, which hurts economic development efforts.
The FBI and the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's office is seeking the person or persons responsible for hanging a noose-like knot from a willow tree along the Mississippi River in Belle Chasse. The
words "White Power" were also found written on the cement levee embankment.
Former Gibsland Mayor Odell Key has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to malfeasance in office. Second Judicial District Court Judge Glenn Fallin sentenced Key to three years at the Louisiana Department of Corrections - two years suspended, and an additional two years of active supervised probation upon completion of his jail sentence. He was also fined $5000.
The Saints drafted six players during the NFL draft, 2 offensive players and four on the defensive side of the ball. The headliner is first round pick wide receiver Brandin Cooks from Oregon State. Coach Sean Payton likes Cooks athleticism, work ethic and character. The Saints selected two players from the Southeastern Conference. Strong safety Vinnie Sunseri from Alabama and Florida outside linebacker Ronald Powell. Payton says both players suffered knee injuries in college, but should be able to play right away, especially on special teams.
The sixth ranked LSU Tigers sat around and watched it rain more than they played baseball this weekend. Because of lightning and heavy rain in Baton Rouge, the Bayou Bengals only played two games. Both of them were on Saturday. They won the first game 2-0 behind another stellar pitching performance by Aaron Nola. But the Tigers lost the nightcap 5-1. That second game didn't start until 10 PM because of weather.
News for Friday 050914
By Dave Graichen
Well today is day two of the three day AlexRiverFete. Activities start downtown at 4pm with the art walk, followed by live entertainment from 7 to 10 on the Dragon Stage. Saturday, it’s a full day, starting with the Dragon Boat Races and activities all day long. The 2nd annual event will wrap up with live entertainment. If you are looking to travel, you may want to check out the 40th Annual Cochon de lait Festival in Mansura. It continues through Sunday.
It looks like some much needed rain is in store for most of Louisiana heading into the weekend. State Climatologist Barry Keim says after three to four weeks of dry weather, the state is finally moving into a wet pattern. Keim says that there a chance of widespread thunderstorms across the
state dropping a potential of one to two inches of rain over the next few days. He adds that the rain is needed to avoid drought conditions.
For seven hours Thursday, the Louisiana House debated Common Core, school vouchers, art, private prisons, health care clinics and other planks in the $25 billion state operating budget.
House members made a few changes, took the generally unprecedented step of calling a cabinet secretary to the floor, then voted 65-34 in favor of House Bill 1, the spending plan for the fiscal year that starts in July. The state Senate now gets its chance to tackle the budget.
Common Core critics suffered their fourth major defeat of the session Thursday when a Senate committee crushed a bid to scrap the national academic standards in favor of new ones drafted by Louisiana parents and educators. The bill was the last of the sweeping anti-Common Core proposals awaiting action, and means that key bills to drop or revamp the standards and accompanying tests have now failed in three House and Senate committees.
Chief Executive magazine has ranked Louisiana the ninth best state for business. Since 2010, the state has climbed 31 spots in the magazine's Best & Worst States for Business rankings. Louisiana now places among the top 10 states nationally in four national business-climate rankings.
Former Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has endorsed an underdog candidate in the US Senate race. Palin says Louisiana can elect a true conservative in Air Force Colonel Rob Maness. LSU Political Science Professor Robert Hogan says Palin's endorsement will help Maness gain some much-needed name recognition. Palin calls Maness the true conservative in the race.
An independent survey on this year's US Senate race shows Senator Mary Landrieu's popularity continues to fall. Southern Media and Opinion Research conducted a survey last week of 600 likely voters and Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says Landrieu's approval ratings have hit an all-time low of 39-percent. Landrieu has been a US Senator since 1996 and was recently appointed to the Chair of the Senate Energy Committee. Pinsonat says her seniority and power mean little to Louisiana voters.
The bill requiring dogs to be restrained in the back of pickup trucks on interstates goes another step into becoming law Thursday. HB1091 by Kenner Rep. Tom Willmott got approval in the Senate Transportation Committee. Willmott says the dog would need to be in a crate, a car carrier or
wear some type of harness when in the back of a truck traveling on an interstate. He says a dog that is free to roam in the back of a truck that's going 70 miles per hour could fall out which is dangerous for other motorists and of course the dog. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.
A 19 year-old Monroe man has been arrested after he allegedly tried to check a 13 year old girl out of school that he had exchanged sexual text messages with. Deedrich Bethley has been charged with attempted kidnapping. Monroe Police Sgt. Mark Johnson says Bethley showed up at the girl's school to pick her up and school officials got suspicious..
An arrest has been made in the case of a 26-year-old Plaquemine man who was found shot dead, execution style, at his camp off Grand River Wednesday. 22-year-old Detrell Scott of Plaquemine has been booked with first degree murder and armed robbery charges in the death of Kyle Boudreaux. The Iberville Parish Sheriff says the suspect and victim knew each other. Boudreaux's cell phone and wallet were stolen.
The big reopening of the historic Shreveport Municipal Auditorium opens tonight with a concert. The Louisiana Hayride will return to the stage along with other musical talents. Auditorium Spokesperson Sam Voisin the auditorium has re-opened after being closed for a year due to a 5.3 million dollar renovation. The upgrades have placed the building on the National Historic Landmark list.
LSU begins its final home SEC series tonight against Alabama. A couple of weeks ago, the Crimson Tide were in first place in the SEC West, but they've lost 6 of their last 7 conference games. Coach Paul Mainieri says Alabama is still bringing a good baseball team into the Box. The Tigers are coming off a series where they dropped two out of three to Texas A-and-M.
Tonight is the second round in the NFL draft and it is expected several LSU Tigers will be selected tonight. Draft Analyst Mike Detillier says Jarvis Landry could be the first former Tiger picked tonight. Detiller says quarterback Zach Mettenberger, running back Jeremy Hill, defensive tackle Ego Ferguson and offensive guard Trai Turner are other possible selections tonight. Detiller also believes Louisiana Tech defensive tackle Justin Ellis has a good chance of being selected tonight.
News for Thursday 050814
By Dave Graichen
The NFL draft happens tonight in New York City and a lot of Louisiana eyes are on Odell Beckham, Jr. and the New Orleans Saints. Football Analyst Mike Detillier says we shouldn't have to wait long to hear Beckham's name. With the 27th pick in round one, the Saints, realistically, do not have a chance to draft Beckham. But Detillier says with that pick, the Saints should have some pretty good options. The Saints have a total of seven picks in this year's draft.
The city of Alexandria is suing a company who got $50,000 from the city to produce a movie based on Bonnie and Clyde. Problem is, the move was never made. A lawsuit filed Wednesday by the city in 9th Judicial District Court names Cypress Moon Productions, Inc., and Tonya Holly as defendants. Two other Cenla agencies, the Alexandria-Pineville Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Greater Alexandria Economic Development Authority, each put up $25,000 for the project.
A bill that would allow optometrists to expand their practice and perform certain surgeries gets approval from The House. The legislation is by Denham Springs Representative Roger Pope who says the measure is not about politics. He says it's about giving the people of Louisiana better access to eye care services. The vote was 66-30 and the bill heads to the Senate for further consideration.
Bills that address domestic violence in Louisiana are close to final legislative passage. One of the measures would prohibit an alleged abuser under a protective order from possessing a firearm and if convicted of domestic abuse battery, then you can't have a gun for a decade. It received Senate approval and goes back to the House for agreement on Senate amendments.
House approved legislation that would require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals passed in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday. The bill had no opposition and now heads to the Senate floor.
Farmers may soon be able to sell their raw milk directly to consumers under legislation that got House approval on Wednesday. HB1279 is by Carencro Representative Stephen Ortego who says he was approached by many of his constituents who said they would like to be able to purchase raw milk from their neighbors who have cows. The vote was 77-19 and now heads to the Senate for further debate.
A bill that would require teachers and most new state employees to wait a little longer before they can retire and receive benefits is close to final legislative passage. The measure by Slidell
Representative Kevin Pearson raises the retirement age from 60 to 62-years-old.
Two bills that would have put regulations on the use of red light and speed cameras failed to get approval on the House floor. One of the measures would require local voter approval for a town or city to have cameras that issue tickets through the mail.
The state Senate Health Committee approves a health care plan that's called the conservative alternative to the Affordable Care Act. It was written by Governor Bobby Jindal to be used on the federal level, but democrat State Senator Ben Nevers of Bogalusa is pushing the bill in the State Legislature because he says it will be good for Louisiana. Jindal published his national health care plan on his "America Next" website which promotes conservative policies that differ from the
An Independence man, known for impersonating Elvis Presley, surrendered to authorities after an arrest warrant was issued for sex crimes involving children. 40 year-old Jason Bagilio is charged
with eight counts of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile and 10 counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile. No bond has been set.
A young man from Plaquemine becomes the victim of a gunshot wound to the head near a camp in Iberville Parish. His parents found the body of 26 year-old Kye Boudreaux Wednesday. Authorities are piecing together the evidence surrounding the incident. 22 year old Detrell Scott of Plaquemine has been arrested. Deputies say he confessed to robbing and fatally shooting Boudreaux.
News for Wednesday 050714
By Dave Graichen
The final piece in the Jindal administration’s plan to privatize LSU hospitals neared final legislative approval Tuesday. A state House committee voted 10-8 to close Pineville’s Huey P. Long Medical Center. Under a “cooperative endeavor agreement,” Christus’ St. Francis Cabrini and Rapides Regional Medical Center take over the care of the poor and uninsured in central Louisiana.
The closure of the nearly 75-year-old facility requires legislative approval. The Senate has already signed off by approving a resolution , now all that’s missing is full House concurrence.
Louisiana's latest attempt to avoid repaying hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid overpayments dating back to the mid-1990s has been rejected by a federal appeals court. At issue in a Tuesday ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is $240 million in Medicaid money the state received for its charity hospitals from 1996 to 2006. According to the ruling, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said audits showed that nine public hospitals had received hundreds of millions of dollars in excess payments.
Louisiana's latest attempt to avoid repaying hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid overpayments dating back to the mid-1990s has been rejected by a federal appeals court. At issue in a Tuesday ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is $240 million in Medicaid money the state received for its charity hospitals from 1996 to 2006. According to the ruling, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said audits showed that nine public hospitals had received hundreds of millions of dollars in excess payments.
The former Turner Street YMCA will reopen as the YWCA of Alexandria/Pineville. The parties closed on the sale of facility Tuesday afternoon. YWCA of Alexandria/Pineville Executive Director Katie Vanderlick said the target date to reopen the facility is June 1. The YMCA of Central Louisiana closed Turner Street at the end of March, following a desperate attempt to raise enough funds to keep it operating and make needed repairs.
Starting today, the Presidential search committees for Northwestern State University and Grambling State University will each meet on their respective campuses. University of Louisiana System President Sandra Woodley says in these early stages, they want to create a profile of a candidate the search firm can look to recruit when the interviewing begins.
Tuesday, Legislators rejected another effort to increase the qualification standards for TOPS. House Bill 1153 not only would have raised eligibility standards, but also changed the structure of
scholarship payments. The House Education Committee shot down the legislation on a 9-to-4 vote.
State Police and the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's office say they've made what they're calling the biggest drug bust in the history of southwest Louisiana. Twenty-four individuals were arrested on drug related charges as a result of the months long investigation, including the main supplier of cocaine in the Lake Charles area. Authorities say more arrests are likely.
The House Criminal Justice Committee shot down a bill that sought to restrict the use of drones on private property. The panel heard from the journalism profession, who says restricting where drones can fly will hurt their ability to cover news events. Senator Dan Claitor filed the bill because he doesn't want people flying drones into a person's backyard and taking pictures or stealing the property owner's wi-fi. It failed on a 7-6 vote.
Some lively discussion Tuesday about the Senate bill that would permit lawmakers to carry concealed weapons. It has cleared committee, but not without some opposition. The bill's author, Franklin Senator Brett Allain, says he feels people in the legislature should have the same personal protections as judges, coroners, justices of the peace and constables. The law would only apply to lawmakers who undergo special gun safety training and mental evaluations.
A Louisiana House committee rejected legislation Tuesday that would require all government entities to post on its website the minutes of public hearings. The Bill received only one vote on the House and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Sunday is Mother's Day and according to the National Retail Federation we're going to spend a little less on Mom this year than we did in 2013. NRF Spokesperson Kathy Grannis say people want to be a little more conscious of spending this year. The NRF's 2014 Mother's Day Spending Survey shows that Americans will spend an average of just under $163 on mom this year, six dollars less than last year.
More hot days, larger piles of debris from hurricane storm surge and the increased vulnerability of communities and industry along the Gulf Coast as sea level continues to rise are just a few of the impacts happening now in Louisiana due to climate change, according to a new federal report. Sea level rise also is expected to continue, which puts the roads, cities, airports, oil and gas facilities as well as ports at greater risk to flooding.
According to an East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office arrest report, a 23-year-old man admitted to lying to his grandmother and stealing more than $100 thousand. Gary Michael Gray, Jr. has been charged with exploitation of the infirm. He is being held in East Baton Rouge Prison on a $100 thousand bond.
A Covington Police officer who was involved in the arrest of two high school referees during a football game last October, has turned in his resignation. Police Chief Tim Lentz says Sergeant Stephen Short's retirement is effective immediately. The act of the arrest was considered excessive and Short was demoted from lieutenant to sergeant and suspended for ten days.
Former LSU star and West Monroe High School standout Bradie James has retired from the NFL. James signed a one-day contract with Dallas, so he can retire as a member of the Cowboys. James played in Dallas from 2003 to 2011 and during a six-year span he led the team in tackles every season. His retirement is not a surprise, since he didn't play last season. James knew it was time to walk away from football.
News for Tuesday 050614
By Dave Graichen
State lawmakers are concerned about Governor Bobby Jindal's plans to privatize state-owned hospitals now that the federal government has rejected the financing plans. The Jindal administration learned on Friday that the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will not approve of the financing plans. But Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols says the state will appeal the decision. Nichols says if they are not successful on appeal, then it will result in the state owing the federal government 200 million dollars, because federal money is a part of the financing deals. These public-private partnerships are already in place for 8 hospitals within the LSU hospital system.
A measure that would allow judges to grant an immediate divorce in cases where a spouse or child is a victim of domestic abuse is approved by the House Civil Law committee. The bill, which has already passed the Senate. It now heads to the House floor.
Another bill that attempts to weaken Common Core fails in the legislature. A House committee shot down a proposal to require approval of the new Common Core test called, PARCC. State Superintendent of Education John White voiced opposition. Common Core represents new academic standards in reading, writing, and math that Louisiana and 42 other states have adopted.
National Tourism Week is this week and Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne is touring the state to celebrate. He'll be hosting events throughout his travels. The tour started in Monroe yesterday, and will hit Ruston, Shreveport, Avery Island, Hammond and more before it wraps up Thursday. Dardenne wants to encourage Louisianans to appreciate tourism and the impact it has on the state. Tourism is a $10.8 billion industry in Louisiana and the state is coming off a record setting year.
Governor Jindal was in Avondale Monday to announce that the IndyCar Racing Series has agreed to come to the New Orleans Motorsports Park in 2015. The park will have to complete $4.5 million in improvements to the course. Jindal will need state Legislative approval for the money, which will be combined with private funds.
There's a potential "Duck Dynasty" connection to the 5th Congressional District Election this fall to replace Vance McAllister. According to the Monroe News Star, Zach Dasher a
Calhoun pharmaceutical rep with "Duck Dynasty" ties may throw his hat into the ring. Willie Robertson has already stated that he is trying to convince Dasher to run.
There's was another elementary school gun discovery Monday. Police responded to a call from Westdale Heights Elementary School in Baton Rouge, where they discovered an unloaded .25 caliber handgun on the floor of a fifth-grade class-room. After questioning students, authorities are still unclear where the gun came from.
Nursing homes and hospitals have proposed constitutional amendments on the Nov. 4 ballot seeking protection from the state budget axe. But the Louisiana Senate on Monday killed a proposed constitutional change aimed at providing the same type protection for services for the elderly, disabled and dying. The Senate voted 13-25 against the measure by state Sen. Fred Mills, R-St. Martinville. Senate Bill 355 fell 13 votes shy of the two-thirds majority in the 39 member Senate to advance.
According to a release from the office of Governor Bobby Jindal, Site Selection magazine named IBM's new technology center in Baton Rouge as one of its Top North American Deals of 2013. The statement also indicates the publication ranked the Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, and New Orleans regional economic development groups among the top 11 in the nation.
A bill forcing the Louisiana High School Athletic Association to use 3rd-party arbitration to hear player eligibility issues is closer to final legislative passage. The LHSAA is prohibiting an Episcopal
student from playing football this fall because he is too old. Athletic Director Myra Mansur feels a non-partisan arbitrator should hear his case. The LHSAA rule states that if you turn 19 before September 1st, you cannot play varsity sports the following school year. Executive Director Kenny Henderson said to the House committee that the 19-year-old in question is not the first kid who's had a tough life and was not allowed to play under this rule. He says rules are rules. It now heads to the full House for further consideration.
The park program in Baton Rouge known as BREC says one of their employees is fired after he was arrested for allegedly stealing about 4,320 rolls of toilet paper from the company. BRPD busted 44-year-old Cordell Curtis who BREC says was a warehouse manager. He was booked with felony theft.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says, sadly, the two whooping crane eggs that were produced this spring were not fertile and they will not hatch. But spokesman Bo Boehringer says it's not all bad news. He says it's a good sign that the endangered whooping cranes from the LDWF experimental population are mating.
Fox Sports reports, Former LSU football players Zach Mettenberger and Anthony Johnson had their drug tests flagged at the NFL combine monday. Mettenberger had a diluted sample, which constitutes a failed drug test. Johnson, failed his test outright. No traces of illegal or banned substances were found in Mettenberger’s sample.
News for Monday 050514
By Dave Graichen
A 6-mill tax to improve recreation and provide more financial stability for the Alexandria Zoo earned voter approval Saturday. Winning approval with 58.7 percent of the vote. Also on Saturday, Rapides Parish voters approved a 2.06-mill, 10-year tax continuation for Renaissance Home. 7 other Millage taxes were approved in the parish as well.
A decision by federal officials to reject Gov. Bobby Jindal’s financing plans for the privatization of six state-owned hospitals that care for the poor and uninsured threatens deals that already have been used to turn over hospital management and could create upheaval in the state’s operating budget. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the agreements don’t meet federal guidelines governing how Medicaid dollars can be spent. The rejections involved plans for LSU-run hospitals in New Orleans, Lafayette, Houma, Lake Charles, Shreveport and Monroe. The decision to reject the deals didn’t cover the agreement that allowed two Alexandria hospitals to take over services of Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville because that deal has not been fully completed.
If you had an opportunity outside of Louisiana, would you take it and leave? According to a recent Gallup poll, 40% of residents in The Bayou State say they would move out of the state if they could. The Gallup report indicated that because of high poverty rates, some people who live in Louisiana feel like they're stuck. According to Gallup, Louisiana is above average when it comes to the percentage of residents who want to live in another state. The top reasons for leaving was work or business related, then family/friends, quality of life and cost of living.
According to the American Automobile Association, we should see some relief at the gas pump in the near future. Refinery production is increasing and that should help the price of gas. AAA Fuel Analyst Don Redman says gas prices peaked in April of this year. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular dropped 2 cents in 2 days and stands at $3.47.
A Baton Rouge senator has revised his bill that would revamp the way Louisiana legislators award Tulane University scholarships. The program that allows Louisiana legislators to pick who receives the valuable scholarships has been the subject of much-publicized reports that the recipients often have been people with political connections. The Louisiana Senate could take up the bill as early as Monday.
A 12-year-old boy is in jail today after he allegedly fired three gunshots at a school bus that was full of children that attended Kenilworth Science and Technology Center in Baton Rouge. BRPD says the child had apparently gotten into a fight with another student on the bus then got off, walked into a residence to get a gun then shot and struck the bus three times. He is booked on many charges including 6 counts of attempted first degree murder.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month urging drivers to be extra cautious of motorcycles while traveling on roadways. Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission says over the past 10 years, 83 people were killed in motorcycle crashes in Louisiana. Last year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study of motorcycle accidents and found motorcyclists are 30 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in crash.
A state Senate bill could have a serious impact on high school athletics. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor's measure would essentially require groups like the Louisiana High School Athletic Association to use third party arbitration to settle player eligibility disputes. President Todd Guice believes in the process that is in place and the cost of third party arbitration would be too great for the organization. Claitor's bill passed the Senate on a 21-to-17 vote and will be brought up in a House committee today.
News for Friday 050214
By Dave Graichen
Municipal general elections will be held in 35 parishes across the state Saturday. Secretary of State Tom Schedler is expecting a low voter turnout. You can download the GeauxVote Mobile app to sign up to find polling locations, review sample ballots, monitor election results and more. Polls will be open from 7:00am to 8:00pm)
State police report 54-year-old Mitzi Scott of Campti died early Thursday when a 18 wheeler hit her vehicle while she was stopped on the road and trying to warn motorists about a fallen tree. The accident happened shortly before 5:30 in the morning on U.S. Highway 71 north of La. Highway 486, in the Campti area. Scott was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to figures released Wednesday from the Department of Health and Human Services, out of about 184 thousand Louisianans, new enrollment numbers for the Affordable Care Act show over 101 thousand people in the state have signed up. That is up quite a bit from the 45 thousand reported by March 1st.
The Senate will be looking at legislation to raise the minimum standards students to qualify for the TOPS scholarship program. The bill authored by Mandeville Senator Jack Donahue would raise the GPA requirement from 2.5 to 2.75 and the ACT minimum from 20 to 21.
Gov. Bobby Jindal and UPS Midstream Services Inc. President Stewart Jones formally dedicated the company's new 24,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Jena yesterday. The new full-service machining plant represents a $3.9 million capital investment. The Jena site employs 49 skilled machinists and support personnel and is ahead of schedule in its commitment to create 95 new direct jobs by 2017.
A bill that would prohibit motorists from using a hand held cell phone through school zones gets another nod from the legislature Thursday. There were no objection to Bossier City Representative Jeff Thompson's bill in the Senate Transportation Committee. Thompson says this legislation is about keeping kids safe. The law would go into effect January 15 if it passes. It hits the Senate
The state Senate gave final passage to a measure that would prohibit speed cameras on Louisiana's interstates. The bill by Sulphur Representative Mike Danahay passed in the upper chamber by a 37-0 vote. The House already approved the legislation. Critics of such speed enforcement devices on interstates say people are not given due process and the system appears to be more about generating income.
The Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office has arrested a substitute teacher for having sexual relations with a 17-year-old Parkway student. 29-year-old Chelsea Alexander was charged with Prohibited
Sexual Conduct between Educator and Student. No other students were involved.
In Jennings, the owner of a nutrition, coffee and juice bar has been arrested for allegedly selling illegal steroids at his business. 34-year-old Shannon Michael Guillory was booked on three counts of
distribution of a counterfeit drug and distribution of anabolic steroids.
US Senator Mary Landrieu says the Senate could vote next week on legislation that would green light the long-delayed keystone oil pipeline. Landrieu says it will need 60 votes on the Senate floor to
pass and right now they have commitments from 56 senators who say they'll vote for it. Landrieu says construction of the pipeline will create more than 42- thousand jobs across the country and it will send a signal that North America is an energy powerhouse.
The game time for LSU's home opener against Sam Houston State on September sixth has been set for 6:30. Also, ULL's road opener against Ole Miss on September 13 will begin at 3:00. Both games will be televised on the new SEC Network.
News for Thursday 050114
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's office says the body of a white male was discovered around 6:30am yesterday morning near Airbase Road. Lt. Tommy Carnline said they found the unresponsive victim lying next to the road. The man has been identified as 27 year old Leon Matthew Jeffers of Alexandria, police said. Detectives say the cause of death has not been determined and an autopsy will be performed.
After getting some tips about some suspicious activity, Louisiana State Police have arrested a central Louisiana man on drug charges. The suspect - 49 year-old Stephen Holsomback - was allegedly selling drugs out of a Store- N- Lock business he owns in Alexandria. Authorities say they discovered over 10 pounds of marijuana, over 20 ounces of meth, over 4 ounces of cocaine and over $4,000 in cash. Holsomback was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center.
The second weekend of the 45th annual New Orleans Jazz Festival kicks off today. There will be some big musical talents performing this week like, Christina Aguilera, The Wailers, Chaka Khan, Trey Songz, and Bruce Springsteen. Executive Producer of Jazz Fest Quint Davis says this is one of the best weekend line ups they've ever had.
The state's largest ever seat belt campaign targeting pickup truck drivers starts today. It's called "Buckle Up in your Truck." Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, with the Highway Safety Commission says every year surveys find pickup truck drivers have the lowest level of seat belt use of all other vehicles. LeBlanc says this campaign will increase police patrols and checkpoints dedicated to checking for motorists wearing their seat belts, especially in pickup trucks. He says they are optimistic that this push will help save lives.
The bill that would legalize medical marijuana failed in a Senate committee yesterday 6-2. Several people spoke in favor of the bill by New Iberia Senator Fred Mills including patients who say this form of therapy is the only thing out there that would help alleviate their suffering. But Attorney General Buddy Caldwell feels this is a path toward allowing recreational use. He also says they have a huge problem with the fact that this drug is illegal.
The House approved a bill that would allow Louisianans to have their driver’s license renewed after 6 years instead of 4. Under the bill, the fee for a driver’s license would grow from $28.50 to $42.75 to cover the extra years renewal.
A House Committee shot down a bill that would have prohibited drones from flying over "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana. The legislation is by Baton Rouge Senator Bodi White who says the measure is meant to protect places that are crucial to national security. But opponents argued the Senate backed bill would limit certain organizations, including media, from monitoring and
reporting on possible environmental disasters. The bill failed by a 7-4 vote.
A bill that would authorize the City Council in New Orleans to put a new hotel occupancy tax on a future ballot passed out of a House Committee Wednesday. Mayor Mitch Landrieu wants the extra money to improve public safety in New Orleans. Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, who is against the tax, says if this bill goes forward, people who visit New Orleans would be paying the highest taxes in the nation to stay in their hotel.
A bill that would prohibit most public employees from paying union dues through a deduction on their paychecks failed to get passed the House Labor Committee.
Legislation is nearing final passage that would allow both active and retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed handguns in nearly every place open to the public.
The Senate Commerce Committee gave support to a bill that would require annual inspections of elevators to make sure they are operating properly. The bill, sponsored by Bogalusa Senator Ben Nevers, is supported by elevator manufacturers.
The man accused of killing his roommate’s dog because the animal ripped up his furniture, is now in jail on animal cruelty charges. The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office says twenty-three year-old Shaun Parsons allegedly killed the dog by putting an empty potato chip bag over the animal's head at the home in Greenwell Springs.
The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office have identified human remains that were found in Hammond earlier this month. The remains were those of 31-year-old Jonathon Gordan of Loranger, who disappeared on New Year's Eve. Gordan was an Iraq War veteran and bronze medal recipient. The investigation of Gordan's disappearance and death is ongoing.
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