KSYL Local News Archives for 2014-06

News For Monday 06/30/14


News for Monday 063014

By Dave Graichen

 

The City of Alexandria remains under a conserve water order following the blowout of a 42” water line on Saturday. The line was quickly repaired by the utility department, however there was a 24 hour delay before the water from that main was allowed to flow in to the main city system. The fear is a drop in the water level and pressure could force a boil advisory to be issued. So far so good, no such advisories have been posted. However, residents who utilize the Poland and Latanier water systems are under a boil advisory til further notice. Both water system receive part of their water supply from Alexandria. The city was forced to shut off their tap Saturday.

 

5th district congressman Vance McAllister has scheduled a press conference for this morning during which many expect he’ll recant his declaration from April and announce he will seek re-election this fall. Entering just the eighth month of his first year in Congress, the Swartz Republican businessman has had an eventful rookie season. In November 2013 he assumed the final year of the two-year congressional term of Rodney Alexander, who abruptly announced his resignation in August 2013.

 

A  special  meeting  of  BESE is set to take place on Tuesday and we could find out then whether  the  state's top school board will seek legal action against Governor Jindal's  attempt to remove the Common Core education standards out of Louisiana.  There  is an agenda item that calls for "consideration of the potential retention  of special legal counsel."

 

Synthetic marijuana is illegal to use in Louisiana. But, it’s becoming the new drug of choice, exceeding cocaine,  because many users think it’s a safe, modified version of marijuana. It’s not, say law enforcement and health officials. Calls to the Louisiana Poison Control Center have increased in recent months. The Southeast Veterans Health Care Center reported a disturbing escalation of calls from young veterans experiencing psychotic episodes after use.

 

New Orleans Police report nine people were wounded in gunfire on Bourbon Street early Sunday. Two of them were listed in critical condition after the shooting around 2:45 a.m just around the corner from Pat O'Brien's and Preservation Hall. The shooting victims were taken to nearby hospitals, and the NOPD continued to gather details. No arrests had been made.

 

The National Hurricane Center reports A low-pressure system meandering south along Florida's east coast could form a tropical depression by Tuesday afternoon. The system is becoming better developed as it takes on a more southwestern course. Forecasters put the odds of it developing into a tropical storm at 60 percent by Tuesday.

 

State lawmakers held a special  meeting  at  the  capitol  Friday  to discuss  problems  with federal V-A hospitals and clinics.  Veterans are having trouble getting  access  to  treatment  at V-A facilities

nationwide.   State  Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary  David LaCerte says they've sent  complaints  to  the  federal  V-A and its inspector general for years. Reports  have surfaced that veterans are facing long wait times  and other lapses  in care.  LaCerte says he's even had trouble making an appointment.  He  says  it  will  be up to the federal government to improve health care for its veterans,  but  he urged state lawmakers to apply pressure to get something done.

 

 The Louisiana Workforce Commission won a federal grant of over six- million-dollars to train workers in high-demand occupations and help  the cost of worker training. The grant focuses on industries that are driving employment demand in  South Louisiana.  LWC estimates 1,200 people living in South Louisiana  will qualify for a combination of services under the grant. 

 

An Avoyelles Parish judge has approved a $5.9 million settlement against Acadian Ambulance.

A hearing on a proposed settlement in the class-action lawsuit against Lafayette-based company happened Friday. 440 Louisiana residents have filed claims that they were overcharged by Acadian Ambulance for services over the last two decades. Claim reimbursements should be distributed later this year.

 

A former St. Martin Parish Sheriff's  deputy has been charged in the shooting  death  of  her husband in Breaux  Bridge.   A  grand  jury charged Chrystal Alexander with second degree murder in the December death of 34-year-old Kendall  Alexander.   Chrystal  Alexander was a lieutenant in the Sheriff's Office.

 

The US Environmental Protection Agency has approved the use of a  restricted-use pesticide to help combat tawny crazy ants in Louisiana.  Termidor SC was given an emergency exemption for use against the  pests.  LSU entomologist Dennis Ring says tawny crazy ants grow to huge  populations with multiple nests.  Ring says they believe this pesticide will reduce the number of the ants.  Ring says the tawny crazy ant problem covers 18 parishes, so far.

 

Baton Rouge Congressman and US Senate candidate Bill Cassidy touted the  benefits of increasing domestic energy production while delivering the  Weekly Republican address. Cassidy says a common sense solution to  creating jobs and lowering energy costs is the construction of the Keystone Pipeline.  President Obama and democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid oppose

the keystone pipeline. A Cassidy victory this fall could help the  GOP take control of the Senate. And the Baton Rouge republican made it  known in his address that it’s time to retire Reid as the leader of the  Senate.  Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, who Cassidy is challenging this fall,  also supports the Keystone Pipeline and has a bill in the Senate that  would green light the construction of the pipeline.

 

A 28-year-old Baton Rouge man has been found  guilty  of killing his unborn child when he shot his pregnant wife in 2012.  A  jury  found Frank  Atkins  guilty  of second degree murder and attempted murder. He faces life in prison.

 

A  four  year-old  boy  died over the weekend in a backyard swimming pool. Caddo Parish authorities responded  to  a  home  to  find the child unresponsive. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.  The incident occurred at a home while a family gathering was taking place.

 

News For Friday 06/27/14


News for Friday 062714

By Dave Graichen

 

Fort Polk is one of 30 army bases around the country in jeopardy of  losing troops as the Army looks to cut 40-thousand troops from its  active duty force. Fort Polk Progress Chairman Michael Reese there's the  potential the military base in Vernon Parish could lose 6,500 troops.  The Army also considered a large troop reduction at Fort Polk last year,  but because of a big lobbying effort from local community and business  leaders the base only lost 250 troops. Reese says a similar organized response will be needed again this year.  Reese says the Army is now taking public comment on why Fort Polk and  other bases should not be subjected to a reduction of troops.

 

 Roosevelt Johnson is running for Alexandria city councilman in District 2. Johnson has previously served on the council for several years, but he does not currently hold a seat.  Johnson is known for his door-to-door campaigning, and he says voters can expect the same during the upcoming election. Incumbent Councilwoman Mitzi Lasalle has not announced her plans for this election which takes place in November.

 

The Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs will be holding  a meeting today to discuss issues their members and constituents are  having accessing healthcare facilities at the VA medical centers. New  Orleans Rep. Nick Larusso is the chairman of the committee. He says  they hope to hear from any of their vets who are having problems. Larusso says since VA healthcare is regulated by the federal  government, they hope to apply some pressure with expressing issues  concerning our veterans and members of our armed forces. Larusso says a change needs to be made with the system because the one  in place now is not working.

 

The Jindal Administration  says  there  shouldn't  be  any delays in scoring  of standardized tests retaken this summer by public  school students.   Superintendent  of  Education  John White said in a memo that summer retests cannot be scored right now  because  of Governor Jindal's  suspension  of  the  testing contract.  The administration says they have notified the testing  contractor  that the state will pay for test scoring without disruption.

 

The  Department  of  Education announces that for the second straight year the number of high  school  students  earning  a score of 18 or higher on the ACT has increased.  23,560 students in  the  class  of 2014  posted  a  college-going  score, which is an increase of 1,472 students  from 2013.  They say this  will  lead  to  more  graduates entering college without having to take remedial courses.

 

Louisiana State Police and other local law enforcement agencies say, due to about a 30% increase in fatalities, ther are enforcing a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to people who don’t wear their seat belts. Summer Heat 2014 is an enforcement effort targeting unrestrained drivers and passengers, reckless drivers and impaired drivers and it’s underway now.

 

Shreveport Fire Chief Craig Mulford was booked into the Caddo Parish Correctional  Center  today on five counts of malfeasance in office, handed down by a Caddo  Parish  grand jury, They were looking at the fire department's response into allegations of abuse by firefighters involving a mentally disabled man.  The chief denies the allegations that he covered up in the investigation.

 

It's  official,  the green light has been  given  for  a  ride-share program to begin in  Baton  Rouge.   It  allows  companies like Uber (oober) to provide a cab like service to those individuals seeking a ride.  New Orleans is also looking into whether they should  allow  Uber to conduct business there.

 

 

 

 

News For Thursday 06/26/14


News for Thursday 062614

By Dave Graichen

 

U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman threw a curveball Wednesday at the lawyers arguing both sides of a case over gay marriage in Louisiana, deciding he will rule not only on whether same-sex marriages performed in other states should be recognized in Louisiana, but also on whether gay and lesbian couples should be able to wed in the state. The case before Feldman includes six couples, all of whom argue that Louisiana should recognize marriages performed elsewhere. The judge has not indicated when he will rule.

 

Judge Dee Drell saying yesterday Attorney Craig Davidson, can proceed in state court on the issue of whether there is a lien through which Davidson could collect a $1.3 million judgment against the city of Alexandria.  The Baton Rouge attorney claims he is owed  attorney fees from the city for services rendered in it’s lawsuit against Cleco. That contract with the city was later ruled void. Although Judge Drell was doubtful about whether the lien can “survive the demise” of an unenforceable contract, he said that matter could be heard in state court. A hearing is set for Friday before 9th District Judge Harry Randow on the lien issue.

 

Two alleged pimps were arrested in Alexandria last week during an FBI nationwide prostitution sting targeting commercial child sex trafficking. 35 year old Peter Metoyer of Alexandria and 40 year old Gregory Harris of Lafayette were charged with promoting prostitution and drug charges. Both remain in jail. Five adult prostitutes were issued citations and later were released in Alexandria.

 

Governor  Bobby  Jindal  has signed legislation that would allow the state to take casino winnings from someone who owes debts like child support and taxes.  The  Department  of  Children  and  Family  Services   can   already confiscate  casino  and  lottery winnings for child support payments, but this law would  take money for ANY debt owed to the state.

 

Louisiana State Police say  they  have  made two more arrests in the case  of the Vermillion Parish Sheriff's deputy  who  was  shot  and killed  on  Monday. Spokesman Steven Hammons says 51 year-old deputy and father of  2  Allen  Barres was murdered while he was mowing his lawn. The first two men arrested are charged with first-degree murder, and the suspects arrested just  today  are  charged with accessory after the fact. involving first degree murder.

 

Tuition won’t be rising at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Southern’s Law Center or Southern University at Shreveport this fall, but that’s because those schools didn’t meet the student success goals required to hike costs. Universities and community colleges that meet their yearly goals can increase tuition by up to 10 percent. Those who don’t can’t, and they lose 15 percent of their overall state funding. Last year, all of the colleges and universities met the performance targets. The three Southern University System colleges were the only three that failed to pass muster this year.

 

Summer is here, school is out and families are heading to the beach, where the motto is “come on in, the water’s fine.” Well, most of the time, anyway. The Natural Resource Defense Council’s 24th annual beach water quality report ranks Louisiana among the states with some of the highest percentage of water samples that exceed federal recommendations for beach swim advisories.

Louisiana was joined at the bottom of this list by Ohio, Alaska, Mississippi and Maine.

 

 A Jefferson Parish man is free  after spending 17 years in a state  prison for a crime he did not commit. Nathan Brown was convicted in 1997  in the attempted aggravated rape of a woman who was returning to her  Metairie apartment late at night. Innocence Project Attorney Vanessa  Potkin says D-N-A evidence exonerated the 40-year-old father of two. Potkin says Brown consistently maintained his innocence since he was  first arrested and also took the stand in his own defense. Brown was  finally released from prison Tuesday he's ready for life as a free man

 

Researchers predict the annual low-oxygen "dead zone" that forms off the  coast  of  Louisiana  every  summer  will be average size  this summer, which means roughly the size of the  state  of   Connecticut. Executive  Director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Nancy Rabalais,

they  anticipate  the  "dead zone" will cover between 46-hundred and 58-hundred square miles  this  year.  A goal has been set to reduce the annual size of the "dead zone"  to less than 1,930

square miles.

 

A lawsuit has reportedly been filed to strike down  the law allowing Tony the Tiger to remain in his enclosure at a truck  stop in Grosse Tete.  Former state Representative Warren Triche Jr. and  two  other Louisiana  residents  are suing the state, Tiger Truck Stop, and its owner, Michael Sandlin, saying the law is unconstitutional.

 

News For Wednesday 06/25/14


News for Wednesday 062514

By Dave Graichen

 

An investigation  in  underway  in  the shooting death of an off-duty Vermillion Parish Sheriff's deputy.  Allen  Barres  was  gunned down after  he reported suspicious activity by suspects while mowing  his

lawn.  Louisiana  State Police Spokesman Stephen Hammons says, after they allegedly shot  Barres,  they fled in his vehicle, which showed up in South Abbeville. Police arrested 20 year-old Quintalyn Richard and 19 year-old Baylon Taylor.

 

A Jennings man has been arrested  for  shooting  a  police  officer. Jennings Two police officers responded to a disturbance just  before noon Monday, and Sargeant Ricky Benoit was shot in the neck by 30 year-old  George  D.  Lowdins  who  was  hiding  from  view.  He was apprehended  by the other officer, and charged with attempted  first degree murder  of a police officer.  Benoit is in serious but stable condition.

 

Despite a ruling from a Baton Rouge judge, the state will continue with  its plans to close the Huey P Long Medical Center in Pineville. Judge  Robert Downing says the Senate violated the open meetings law when the  Health and Welfare panel heard legislation authorizing the hospital's  closure. The hospital is in the district of state Senator Rick Gallot.  Gallot opposes the closure of the hospital, and knew at that time, the  Senate Health and Welfare Committee did not give enough advanced  notice to allow for public comment, when they considered the issue. But, the bottom line, patients  who used the Huey P Long Medical Center will use two nearby private  hospitals. The Jindal administration says the privatization deal will  lead to better health care, but Gallot  has some concerns. He feels the Jindal administration rushed the closure of HPL.

 

Governor Bobby Jindal has signed legislation  that  would  require a doctor, in most cases, to leave a brain dead pregnant woman  on life support  until  her baby is born.  New Orleans Representative Austin Badon says it's their duty as lawmakers to do everything possible to protect human life  which  is currently in state statute.  Opponents to the measure say this takes  away the rights of the family and the husband in making end of life decisions. The new law goes into effect immediately.

 

State Treasurer John Kennedy says  Governor  Bobby Jindal has vetoed the bill that would require additional financial  accountability and legislative  over  sight  of  state contracts. The bill  would  have

required  that all state dollar  contracts  $40,000  or  more  get approval from lawmakers.

 

A tragic accident in Ascension Parish has claimed the lives of two  children and injured three adults after an SUV crashed into a group of  people fishing near Bayou Manchac.  State Trooper Jared Sandifer says  the two children, ages six and nine, were pronounced dead at the scene.  The three adults, all men, were transported to a local hospital with  minor to moderate injuries.  Authorities say impairment doesn't appear to be a factor in the accident  but the investigation is ongoing.

 

Today a federal judge will hear arguments whether Louisiana should  recognize same-sex marriages from other states. The issue will come down  to how US District Judge Martin Feldman interprets the Supreme Court's  decision in the US v Windsor case. A ruling for Louisiana to recognize same-sex marriages would  give gay married couples numerous benefits not afforded to them  currently, like issues with inheritance laws, income taxes, retirement  benefits, health insurance, and more. Whatever way Feldman decides to rule on this issue, this case is most  likely headed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

 

A former managing auditor for the state Department of Children and Family Services told a federal judge Tuesday that he used his state credit card to rent hotel suites for Mardi Gras in New Orleans and also was reimbursed more than $27,000 for official travel that never occurred. 33 year old Corey Polk is the third ex-DCFS auditor to plead guilty to federal program fraud since late May.

 

Two months ago ship builder Boyse Bollinger endorsed US Senator Mary  Landrieu in a commercial. Today the lawmaker from Louisiana announced  she included $318 million for new vessels that would be built at  Bollinger in a bill that funds the Dept. of Homeland security. LSU  Political Science Prof. Robert Hogan says this is good and bad for her. Hogan says this is why incumbents have somewhat of an advantage during  campaigns because they can show their voters they have the power to bring money to the state. However he feels her opponents will point  out that she had a hand in moving cash to a major supporter.

 

News For Tuesday 06/24/14


News for Tuesday 062414

By Dave Graichen

 

Cleco Corp. confirmed Monday that more than one company has offered to acquire the Pineville-based utility. Cleco subsidiary Cleco Power, a regulated electric utility, serves about 284,000 customers in Louisiana through its retail business and supplies wholesale power in Louisiana and Mississippi. Cleco said it has hired Goldman Sachs & Co. and Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. as its financial advisers to help evaluate any proposals. Cleco said there is no guarantee the review will result in a merger or business combination. Also, Cleco does not intend to make any further announcements regarding the review unless its board of directors approves a specific deal or a course of action that requires disclosure.

 

A Baton Rouge judge says lawmakers didn’t follow the Louisiana Constitution in authorizing Gov. Bobby Jindal to close the LSU-run public hospital in Pineville. But the decision doesn’t require the Jindal administration to slow plans to shutter the Huey P. Long Medical Center within a week. Judge Robert Downing ruled Monday that the Senate violated the open meetings law when the legislation was heard by its health care committee. He granted a preliminary injunction request sought by two hospital closure opponents. However, Downing also suspended that judgment, effectively allowing the hospital closure plans to continue,  pending an appeal of his decision, which heads directly to the Louisiana Supreme Court. The Senate intends to appeal.

 

A Winsboro  mother  of 5 has been arrested for throwing her 20 month old baby from a moving car, reportedly to get the attention from the father.  Twenty-three  year  old  Lasasha  Allen is facing attempted second-degree murder charges.  She retrieved  the  seriously  injured baby,  but  delayed  hospital treatment.  The baby was airlifted  to Shreveport, where it’s  in  serious  condition.   The woman’s 5 other children were taken into the care of child services.

 

The National Council on Teacher Quality has ranked Northwestern State  and LSU in the top ten nationally for all elementary teacher preparation  programs.  Louisiana Board of Regents Associate Commissioner for Teacher  and Leader Initiatives, Jeanne Burns, says Louisiana was one of the first states to recognize the need to create a  more rigorous teacher certification structure and a more rigorous  teacher preparation approval process.  The rankings are based on information collected from approximately 1,600  programs nationwide.  64% of Louisiana's elementary teacher preparation programs met fully with the NCTQ standard.  The national average is 16%.

 

Auditions for the 14th season of American Idol will be held in judge  Harry Connick Jr's home city of New Orleans all day tomorrow. You can  try out to be a contestant on the reality talent show at the UNO  Lakefront Arena starting at 7am Wednesday morning. Connick Jr. says  the producers will be looking for true performers.  Tomorrow is the very first round of auditions and producers say you'll

get about 30 seconds to sing and will be told right away if you get to  sing for the celebrity judges

 

Poverty  Point State Historic Site in West Carroll Parish  has  been named  a World  Heritage  Site  by  a  United  Nations  agency.  The designation was granted Sunday by the U.N. Education, Scientific and Cultural  Organization  during  a meeting in Qatar. Poverty Point is now one of 20 sites that were added worldwide in an ongoing meeting. Poverty  Point is a 400-acre complex of carefully engineered  mounds and ridges more than 3000 years old.

 

A Jennings Police Officer is in the hospital after being shot in the neck  yesterday.   Ricky  Benoit  is  listed  in stable condition  at  a Lafayette hospital.  A suspect is in custody,  but  authorities  are

not ready to release the name at this time.

 

A  Westlake  man  has  been charged with his fifth DWI after a crash that occurred near Kinder.  Thirty-seven  year-old  Bent  Hetzler was charged  with  DWI 5th offense, tampering with an interlock device, no seatbelt, texting  while  driving,   and   child  endangerment  when  troopers discovered an 8 year-old in the vehicle with him.

 

Parents who lose their temper and strike a referee at their child’s Little League game now will face larger fines and more time behind bars in Louisiana. House Bill 227 was one of 56 bills that Gov. Bobby Jindal announced signing Monday.

 

Kenner Police say a road  rage  incident on I-10, which began with a cigarette butt being thrown from  a  car window and hitting a pickup truck, lead to a child being shot.  Authorities  say  after  a chase

with the truck, David Sean Jackson allegedly pulled a gun and  fired three  shots  at  the  pickup.  A 10-year-old passenger in the truck suffered a graze wound to  the  and required surgery.  Jackson faces attempted murder and other charges.

 

Three  juveniles have been recovered in a Louisiana law  enforcement operation targeting child sex trafficking.  Enforcement actions took place in  all  major  cities across the state,  except Lafayette.  It's also reported that sixteen pimps and 75 prostitutes  were  arrested, police seized cash,  several  vehicles,  cell  phones  and  a  cross   section  of narcotics.

 

The Jackson Parish  Sheriff's  office  is  investigating an apparent murder-suicide after they say the bodies of  a  man  and  woman were found  in  their  home  Saturday  morning. They say a child called 911 after hearing gunshots in the home.  Investigators  found 50-year-old  James  Smith and 32-year-old Amanda Henderson dead from gunshot wounds to the  head.  They believe Smith shot Henderson then killed  himself.  Henderson's  three   children  were  taken  in  by relatives in Ouachita Parish.

 

Two  people  from  Prairieville  have  been  charged with aggravated cruelty  to  animals  after  reportedly  hosing  down   a   dog  and continuously beating it with a baseball bat.  The dog died from  its injuries.    31-year-old   Jamari   Jackson   and   his  girlfriend, 25-year-old Sammi Corely, were booked into the Ascension Parish Jail where they were released on bond.

 

 Kickoff time for LSU's Thanksgiving night game against Texas A&M has  been set for 6:30PM in College Station.  This will be LSU's first  Thanksgiving Day game since 1973 according to the athletic department.

 

 

 

 

 

News For Monday 06/23/14


News for Monday 062314

By Dave Graichen

 

A very close call this weekend for Chamber President Deborah Randolph  and former mayor Ned Randolph as they were traveling to Baton Rouge on highway 71. A collision between an SUV and a sedan in the oncoming lane tossed the sedan across the roadway and caused it to land on the hood of the Randolph’s car. Both Ned and Deborah received minor injuries, but miraculously survived, as did the drivers of the other vehicles.  

 

Summer officially arrived over the weekend. State climatologist Barry Keim says  the climate prediction center is calling for hotter and dryer conditions for Louisiana this summer. An El Niño weather condition could form a little later than originally expected this summer but will likely still be in time to help put a dampening effect on tropical storm development.

 

Governor Bobby Jindal has signed the  state's  $24.6  billion dollar operating  budget. In the end, out of all of the expenditures approved by lawmakers, he only vetoed eight. The new fiscal year begins on the first of July.

 

Some are wondering if our Governor is advocating a coup. Gov. Bobby Jindal on Saturday night accused President Barack Obama and other Democrats of waging wars against religious liberty and education and said that a rebellion is brewing in the U.S. with people ready for “a hostile takeover” of the nation’s capital. Jindal spoke at the annual conference hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a group led by longtime Christian activist Ralph Reed. Organizers said more than 1,000 evangelical leaders attended the three-day gathering. Republican officials across the political spectrum concede that evangelical voters continue to play a critical role in GOP politics.

 

According to a new survey, Former Louisiana  Governor  Edwin Edwards leads  a  poll  for the US House of Representatives open primary  in November, but he  trails  in  a  head-to-head  against two potential rivals  in  a  runoff. The poll by Glascock Group indicated  Edwards would lead in the  open  primary  with  the support of 32 percent of those questioned, but either Republican Paul  Dietzel  or Republican State  Senator  Dan Claitor could win in a possible runoff  match-up according to the report.

 

As we approach the heart of the summer driving season, prices at the gas  pump are going up.  The price for a gallon of regular gasoline in  Louisiana has risen nearly ten cents in the past week.  AAA fuel analyst  Mike Right says gas prices typically begin to lower after Memorial Day  and remain steady throughout the summer. But, Right says anxiety over  what's going on in the middle east is costing  the price of energy  goes up.  The statewide average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in  Louisiana is about $3.50.   It appears we will be stuck paying above average gas prices through the  summer. 

 

According  to  a new  state-by-state  scorecard  released  by  AARP, Louisiana ranks  37th  in  the  nation  when it comes to meeting the long-term care needs of older residents.  Andrew  Muhl,  director of advocacy  for  AARP  Louisiana, says the bottom line is that  family caregivers need more help. Muhl says most Louisianians  want  to  live independently at home as they age, most with the help of unpaid family  caregivers.  He  says more needs to be done to help older residents achieve that goal.

 

Tony the Tiger can stay. Governor Bobby Jindal signed legislation on Friday that  provides  an  exception  for the live exotic animal who lives  at  the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse  Tete.  The  Animal  Legal Defense Fund, vowed to challenge the new law in court.

 

Louisiana State Police says you can now apply online for a concealed handgun permit. Sgt. Nick Manale says citizens can now utilize the a special  website   that's  been  set  up  to  submit  a  CCP  online application. He says  any  paperwork  involved  can  be  scanned and emailed to LSP but this should make things a lot easier. The  Louisiana  Concealed  Handgun  Permit  website can be found  at chp-web.dps.louisiana.gov.

 

The  Lafayette  Police  Department says the man who led police on a high speed chase on I-10  this  week with a missing 16-year-old girl from Florida has been released from  the  hospital  and  booked into jail. They say 41-year-old Steven P Myers is charged with  attempted first  degree murder. The victim, Ashley Lyon, apparently suffered 10 stab  wounds  and  remains  in  serious  but  stable  condition at a Lafayette hospital.

 

WDSU in New Orleans is reporting that friends,  family  members  and  even  some governmental  employees  have written letters to U.S. Distrcit Judge Ginger Berrigan, asking for  leniency  for  former New Orleans Mayor Ray  Nagin  in  the  sentencing  for  bribe-taking   and   receiving

kick-backs.  Sentencing is scheduled for July 9th.

 

As  part  of  the  fight to stop child abuse and child  trafficking, Governor Bobby Jindal  has  signed  SB 586 into law that creates the new crime of "re-homing" children. That would involve an transaction

or action that an individual might do  to  to  avoid or divest their parental  reponsibilty  by  placing  the  child  in the  home  of  a non-relative  without court approval. For people who  actually  sell children, the Governor says that will be prosecute these individuals to the fullest extent of the law.

 

The Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office recovered two bodies Sunday evening on the Upper Amite River near Watson and deputies said the two likely drowned while tubing with a group of friends.

The two victims were 26 year old Joshua Brantley of Hammond, and 26 year old Philip White of Marrero. Authorities say alcohol and drugs are not suspected to be a factor in the incident.

Deputies began a search at about 2 p.m. Sunday following reports of two people missing who had been tubing on the river with about 10 other friends

 

A woman who argued with her boyfriend late Saturday was stabbed to death on Grand Isle beach in front of her year-old daughter. Grand Isle Police and Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies captured 28 year old Randy Paul Marcel of Chauvin, after he ran from scene of the stabbing. Marcel and the victim had been dating for about five years.

 

News For Friday 06/20/14


News for Friday 062014

By Dave Graichen

 

It’s happened again, Louisiana College has been placed on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. SACS  cited issues related to trustee board governance, institutional integrity, personnel policies and audit findings that pertain to some financial control matters and student financial aid. LC interim President Argile Smith says Fortunately, the issues don’t bring into question in any way the excellent classroom work being done by our professors and students. The issues have to do with administrative areas. Smith said he’ll work with key administrators at LC on preparation of a “monitoring report” before a SACS team visits the campus in April 2015.

 

State Civil Service director Shannon Templet has approved an employee layoff plan associated with the closure of LSU’s hospital in Pineville. The plan involves abolition of 123 positions at Huey P. Long Medical Center which is scheduled to close June 30. The hospital is the third LSU facility to close as a result of a Jindal administration plan to move public hospital care into private control.

 

The Pineville based  Cleco  Power's  customers  will  start to see a reduction in their electricity bills and get a refund because  a new rate  plan  was approved by the Louisiana Public Service Commission. The one time  refund  will  mean  an  average  of $46 for an average residential customer and should show up on September bills.

 

TheDeal.com  is reporting that Pineville-based  utility Cleco Corp. is exploring the possibility of a sale to a Canadian Corporation. Citing unnamed sources, the website dedicated to news on mergers and acquisitions reported Cleco has retained Goldman Sachs to advise on a sale. Cleco received an unsolicited bid from a Canadian group called Borealis Infrastructure.  Cleco has had no comment so far on the report. However, Cleco’s stock price jumped more than 6 percent Thursday to an all-time high of more than $56.

 

US House Republicans elected Jefferson Congressman Steve Scalise to be  the new Majority Whip, the number 3 position in the leadership. He  defeated Reps. Peter Roskam of Illinois and Marline Stutzman of  Indiana.  Scalise is the first Congressman from Louisiana to hold such a high  position since the early 70s.

 

According to a new report from the Violence Policy Center, Louisiana  once again leads the nation in gun-related deaths.  The report states  that Louisiana's gun-related death rate nearly doubles the US average.   The report used data from 2011, the most recent year such data is  available.  Louisiana is followed by Mississippi, Alaska, Wyoming, and  Montana on the list. Executive Director Josh Sugarmann says weak gun laws and high gun  ownership rates are contributing factors for the top 5 states.  The figures show that nearly 19 out of every 100,000 Louisiana citizens  died by gunfire in 2011. 

 

A quick thinking clerk at Tiger Truck Stop in Gross Tete blew the  whistle  on  a teenager abduction by a registered sex offender. The employee called  911 after recalling a TV story about a 16-year-old girl from  Florida who has been missing since last week. Once deputies spotted the suspect, forty-one year-old Steven Patrick Myers fled the scene and  led them on a chase to Lafayette, where he crashed his vehicle and stabbed  his  victim, and apparently stabbed himself. Sixteen year-old Ashley Lyon is in the hospital in serious condition but stable condition.

 

The  Wednesday  debate  between  Governor  Bobby   Jindal   and  the Department of Education over Common Core has left many people  in  a state of confusion.  So what's next?  Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin says he feels the DOE and BESE will stand firm

and  continue  with  the  implementation  of  the  national academic standards.   Even  though  Jindal  announced  he's  working   toward removing  Common  Core  from  Louisiana, Erwin doesn't see a way the governor would legally be able to do that. Erwin says the education system  in  Louisiana  now  has  no  active contract to buy standardized tests for next year.

 

Governor  Bobby  Jindal  signed legislation that will create the WISE fund, which is  a  $40  million  pool of money for colleges and universities  linked  to  research and workforce  development.   LSU

System President and Chancellor  Dr.  F  King  Alexander sys with so many high tech jobs coming to Louisiana, this money  will  be put to good use. The WISE fund gives every public college or university in the  state a  chance  to  collect  a  share  of  this  money  based on how many graduates  they produce in high-demand fields like computer  science and engineering.

 

Louisiana was  once  again  featured  on  "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central.  The show sent correspondent Al Madrigal to the Bayou State for  a segment that aired last night entitled  "Chicken  boxing  vs. cockfighting".   The  piece  featured  interviews  with  New Orleans Senator JP Morrell and Opelousas Senator Elbert Guillory.  It can be viewed online at The Daily Show dot com.

 

 

News For Thursday 06/19/14


News for Thursday 061914

By Dave Graichen

 

In case you haven’t heard, the OK Allen bridge has a new name and that announcement has several local and state officials upset. It appears, in the waning hours of the past legislative session, the house approved a conference committee report for HB 1140.  Inserted into the report, by State Rep. Herbert Dixon,  was language to change the name of the O.K. Allen Bridge spanning the Red River in Alexandria to the Curtis-Coleman Bridge.  With the exception of Dixon, this was done without the knowledge of all Central Louisiana Legislators. Several are now asking the governor to veto the bill.

 

Chief Judge Harry Randow of the 9th Judicial District says he will qualify to run in November 4th election despite a 70-year-old cap on age. Randow notes there will be a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot, which lifts that ban. That would then permit him to be elected and take office January 1st. Several candidates have already announced for that seat. Campaign Insiders report several of those candidates my drop out of the race. Randow is chief judge of the district.

 

Until recently, he was a major supporter, But yesterday Governor  Jindal took steps to remove Louisiana from the Common Core education  standards.  Jindal  has  informed  the makers of the PARCC  exam  that  Louisiana is no longer committed to  implementing their test, which is  tied  to  Common  Core. Jindal says the Common Core allows the federal government to establish  education standards in Louisiana.  Superintendent  of  Education John White responded  to  the  Jindal

announcement by saying  the  state  department  of  education will continue to move ahead with the program’s implementation. White  says  Jindal does not have the authority to remove  Louisiana

from Common Core. BESE board president Chaz Roemer seconded that thought.

 

A bill to require President Barack Obama to approve the stalled Keystone XL pipeline cleared a U.S. Senate committee Wednesday, but Republicans, who generally support the project, denounced the move as a political stunt by committee Chairwoman and Democrat Mary Landrieu. The committee-approved bill, sponsored by Landrieu and John Hoeven, R-North Dakota, would clear the way for completion of the final, northern section of pipeline, which would link Canadian tar-sands oilfields to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. The committee’s decision advances the measure toward the Senate floor, and Landrieu said she will push for a vote there.

 

State Police arrested four former Lafayette Parish Sheriff  deputies for their alleged roles in the beating of an inmate at the Lafayette Parish  Correctional  Center.  Authorities  say the inmate sustained serious bodily injury and spent several days in a local hospital.

 

A group of environmentalists are planning to march from  Grand  Isle to  the  governor's  mansion  to  protest  the legislation signed by Governor Jindal that nullifies a lawsuit against  oil  companies for

coastal  damages. The march is expected to begin Saturday  and  take eight days to complete.

 

Police  in  Washington  say  a  12-year-old  boy  is recovering in a hospital  after  a  pit  bull attack. They say the dog's  owner  was arrested for allegedly violating the town's pit bull ordinance which

says the dogs have to be kept  on leashes with muzzles or in a crate at all times.

 

Police are questioning a person of interest  in  connection  with an Tuesday night  shooting  death  of  an Opelousas man.  Nineteen year-old Donnie Sam was found with three gunshot  wounds, and pronounced dead at the scene.

 

The popular False River Fourth of July Boat Parade is back on, just days after the event’s organizers announced they’d have to cancel it this year. New Roads Mayor Robert Myer said Wednesday that the city is stepping in to take over and ensure the popular tradition continues, although it will be on Saturday, July 5, this year. The family that has organized the event for the past decade had said they had to give it up because of new pressure from the state to obtain liability insurance and provide adequate security patrols for the safety of participants, a burden they weren’t prepared to shoulder.

 

Athlon  Sports  has  ranked  LSU's Tiger Stadium as the best college football stadium in the Southeastern  Conference.   Texas  A-and-M's Kyle  Field was ranked second followed by Georgia's Sanford Stadium. Athlon  Sports  polled 12 SEC experts to come up with their results. Eight of the 12 voted Tiger Stadium number one.

 

A former Louisiana prep football star is charged with murder. Janzen Jackson, who played at Barbe and Carencro,  allegedly  strangled his mom's boyfriend to death. Jackson, who played at Tennessee  and  was recruited by LSU, pleaded not guilty.

 

A former Harrah's Casino  Black  Jack  dealer  is  being  sought for allegedly   cheating  the  Casino  out  of  some  $32,000  in  cash. Twenty-four  year-old  Breanna  Lewis of New Orleans was observed on surveillance video of awarding bets  to  four  different patrons who appeared to know her.

 

 

 

News For Wednesday 06/18/18


News For Wednesday 061814

By Dave Graichen

 

Welcome home ceremonies will take place today throughout the state to  welcome back over 300 Louisiana National Guard soldiers, who spent  ten months on active duty in the Middle East. Louisiana National Guard  spokesperson, Colonel Mike Kazmierzak says the returning soldiers are part of the 844th Engineer Company and 1021st Engineer Company.  The 1021st is based in Covington, while the 844th is based in Pineville. The 844th engineering company will fly into the Alexandria International  Airport tonight. Kazmierzak says the 1021st is busing back to various locations throughout Louisiana, because they couldn't find an airliner to fly the men and women home.

 

Jim Elder is the new executive director at The Shepherd Center. Elder, an Alexandria native, is a graduate of Bob Jones University in South Carolina. He also spent 11 years in California before moving back to Alexandria. The 54 year old Elder returned to Central Louisiana in 1995 as a single parent to six children. He since has been involved in church ministry and non-profit work. He has served on the board of directors of The Shepherd Center, Rapides Parish Advocacy Center and the Renaissance Home.

 

If your dream is to become the next American Idol, your chance is  coming to New Orleans one week from today. Auditions for the Fox  network's singing competition show will be held at UNO's Lakefront

Arena on Wednesday June 25th. Supervising Producer Patrick Lynn says  this year they are hold registration and auditions on the same day. The season 14 auditions are going to be held from about 9am to 5pm and  anyone between the ages of 15-28 is eligible to attend.

 

It didn't start off as the perfect story-book wedding in  Bunkie, as a  wedding  crasher  stole  thousands  of  dollars’ worth of wedding presents, claiming he was from the Department of Homeland  Security. Bunkie  Police Spokesman Chad Jeansonne says the suspect-25 year-old William Girard  Logan-spoke  with  many people at the reception, and then was seen loading all of the presents  into  a  pickup after the couple had left. Jeansonne says after obtaining a search  warrant of the suspect's home, some of the wedding presents were found, but not all of them. The search continues to find the rest.

 

A  Bossier Parish man pleads guilty to manslaughter in the murder of his estranged wife. Prosecutors say Robert Bond kidnapped Annie Bond from  her  home last November. Robert Bond eventually killed her and the victim's  charred  remains  were found in Webster Parish. Bond faces up to 40 years in prison.

 

The  sentencing for former New Orleans  Mayor  Ray  Nagin  has  been delayed  again.  It is now on July 9th when Nagin will know how long he will be  in  prison  for  taking bribes and a kickback during the rebuilding of the city following Hurricane Katrina.

 

Popeye's  has  purchased  the  recipes  for  the restaurant from the family of founder Al Copeland for $43 million  dollars.   Previously the  fried-chicken  restaurant chain paid over $3 million in  annual

royalties for the recipes.   Copeland  founded Popeye's in 1972.  He lost the company in a bankruptcy case in  the  90s,  but retained the exclusive contract to supply spices to the chain.

 

The  Rhode  Island  Board  of Education  has picked  former Louisiana higher ed commissioner Jim Purcell  to  lead  their  state college  system.  Purcell was higher education commissioner here for

three years and decided  not  to seek a new contract this year after coming under fire over but cuts to state colleges.

 

The Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office says  a  Monroe  man  is  under arrest for allegedly burning his 2 year old son in a hot bathtub  on Sunday.  They  say  an  investigation  revealed 23-year-old Jonathan Wilson failed to seek medical treatment  for the victim and returned the child to his mother the following day.  The  toddler  reportedly suffered severe burns.

 

Ice-cold beer and buttery popcorn? They’re already on the menu at AMC theaters in Harvey, Metairie, Harahan, Houma and Hammond, as well as Celebrity Theatres in Broussard. Senate Bill 654 would allow other commercial film theaters across the state to stock alcoholic beverages. The bill squeaked out of the Louisiana House with exactly the number of votes it needed. Now it’s before Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is under pressure to veto it. On the governor’s desk are letters from legislators and a vocal church congregation. They all ask Jindal to stop the bill from becoming state law.

 

Officials say a former State Correctional  officer  has been charged for allegedly beating an inmate at Angola. 33-year-old Mark Sharp of Amite is charged with deprivation of rights under color  of  law and

making  false  statements. The suspect allegedly struck a handcuffed inmate with a baton which resulted in bodily injury then lied to the FBI.

 

According  to  associate  athletic  director  Brian  Broussard,  LSU expects to dish out a record 73,000-plus season tickets  this  year. He says the school has already sold more than 30,000 tickets to  the season-opening  game  against  Wisconsin  in  Houston. The home game against Alabama on November 8th is already sold  out and they expect the  game  against  Ole  Miss  will  do the same. LSU will  have  an official season ticket count by mid-July.

 

Oklahoma State announced Monday  that LSU point guard Anthony Hickey will transfer to OSU and be eligible  for  the upcoming season. They say the NCAA has approved a waiver for Hickey  who  spent  the  past three  seasons  in  purple  and gold. He averaged 8.4 points and 3.8 assists as a junior and led the team with 62 steals.

 

 

News For Tuesday 06/17/14


News for Tuesday 061714

By Dave Graichen

 

The  true nephew of "Duck Dynasty" patriarch  Phil  Robertson,  Zach Dasher,   has   announced   his   candidacy   for   Louisiana's  5th Congressional District.  Dasher, a Republican from Calhoun, says his

background is in the pharmaceutical industry.  He's been involved in the  real  estate  business  and  with  fundraising  for  non-profit organizations. Dasher  has  the  support  of the entire "Duck Dynasty"  clan. The election for Congress takes place on November 4th.

 

Meanwhile,  State  Senator Neil Riser announced yesterday  that he will not be making a run for that  seat, and even though he is bowing out of the race, he did say that his  polling numbers were an encouragement for another political run in the future.

 

Governor  Bobby  Jindal  signs  into  law  a  measure that prohibits individuals who receive government assistance from  using  their EBT benefit  card  at  strip  clubs,  liquor  stores,  and  nail salons. Hammond  Representative  Chris  Broadwater wrote the legislation  to ensure  the  integrity  of  government   programs  that  offer  cash assistance to financially struggling families.The Louisiana Department of Children and  Family  Services  issued a rule  earlier  this  year  to  prohibit  the  use of EBT benefits at certain retailers, Broadwater's legislation puts it into law.

 

Governor Jindal was in Houston yesterday  to  discuss  energy policy with other Republican governors from oil and gas rich states.  He was joined  by  Texas  Governor  Rick Perry, North Dakota Governor  Jack Dalrymple, and Wyoming Governor  Matt  Mead.  The event  hosted by

the Republican Governors Association.

 

During a public speaking event in Baton Rouge, Senator David Vitter, who  announced earlier this year that he's running for governor,  was asked about TOPS. Governor Jindal has opposed any significant change to the tax-funded scholarship  program, but Vitter admitted something must be done to control costs.  Unlike Jindal, Vitter says he's open to expanding the state's Medicaid

program. But the senator says that expansion must result in a better  health insurance program for the working poor, without taking money away  from other important areas of the budget.

 

Sabine   Parish  Sheriff's  Deputies  have  arrested  a  father  for allegedly  stabbing  his 21 year-old son during an argument.  Thomas L. Shoemaker was arrested  and charged with second-degree battery in the Father's Day attack.  The  son  was  transported to the hospital where he is in fair condition.

 

An I-20 road rage  episode  near  West  Monroe  has  resulted in the arrest  of a Ruston man on aggravated assault charges.   A  motorist called State Police reporting the incident,  saying  a man got angry and pointed a gun at her.  After they got the description of the vehicle, police arrested 56 year-old James  Robinson.   He  was  booked  him  into  the  Ouachita  Parish Correctional Center.

 

A study from Tulane University finds that the more domestic violence  takes place within a household, the more likely children will bear the  scars down to their DNA. Study author Dr. Stacy Drury says they looked  at children that came from homes affected by domestic violence,  suicide or the incarceration of a family member.  She says they hope to use this study to  spread awareness that a child with traumatic home life could have, not  only mental issues, but serious physical health issues later in life.

 

 A grievance hearing over Saints' tight end Jimmy Graham's franchise- tag designation begins today.  The Saints franchised Graham as a  tight end in March, however the Pro Bowler feels he should be

declared a wide receiver.  NFL Analyst Mike Detillier anticipates  the arbitrator will rule in favor of Graham. So, how much the Saints will have to pay Graham under the franchise tag  lies in the balance.  The franchise-tag salary for a tight end is a  little more than $7 million, for a wide receiver it's $12.3 million.

 

News For Monday 06/16/14


News for Monday 061614

By Dave Graichen

 

Congressman  Vance  McAllister  said  Friday  he's  leaning  more towards  running for re-election this fall than not. In an interview with Jim Engster  on  W-R-K-F,  McAllister  says it's more likely he

will qualify for the November election. McAllister says the kissing scandal at the end of last year has made him a stronger man.

 

For veterans in  southeast Louisiana there's now a place for them to be laid to rest.   After  a  couple  of years work and eight million dollars from the federal government, a  veterans cemetery in Slidell

is  now  open.   The  only  other  veterans  cemetery  in  southeast Louisiana is in Chalmette, but it doesn't have any more room for new burials.   Ted  Krumm  is  the  director of the Southeast  Louisiana Veterans Cemetery and he is pleased  a  new  final resting place for heroes is now available. The new cemetery will service over 100-thousand veterans who live in the greater New Orleans area. Preliminary design plans are in place for the new Northeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery which will be built near Rayville in Richland Parish.

 

Governor Bobby Jindal has vetoed a bill  Friday  that  would  require dogs to be secured in the back of pickup trucks.  The Governor said the bills' definition of the criterion for securing was too broad.

 

Governor Bobby Jindal has vetoed one of the few Common Core bills to make it through the legislative session.   House Bill 953 would give an additional year to prepare for the new set of academic standards. Many opposed the measure because it was yet  another  delay to rules

that were approved in 2012.

 

With Governor Jindal examining options on how to get the state out of  Common Core, over three-dozen business, education and civic groups have  have asked the governor to keep the new academic standards. Council for  for a Better Louisiana president Barry Erwin reminds the governor that  most members of BESE and the Legislature support Common Core.  Common Core are new academic standards in reading, writing and math that  will go into full effect in the upcoming school year. Erwin says over 40  states are also using Common Core, which will increase rigor in the

classroom and give Louisiana an opportunity to see how it's students  fare with the work of other students across the country.

 

PETA is urging Governor Jindal to veto legislation allowing a tiger to  remain a roadside attraction at a truck stop in Grosse Tete.  Senate  Bill 250 allows Michael Sandlin to keep Tony the Tiger at his place of  business just off I-10.  PETA attorney Carney Ann Nasser says it's  inappropriate for the legislature to pass a bill to appease one person.  She says the courts have already decided that Sandlin wasn't lawfully  keeping Tony at the time the dangerous wild animal ban went into effect.

 Sandlin says he takes excellent care of Tony and the people who come to  his truck stop love him.  But Nasser says tigers are apex predators who  roam for hundreds of square miles in the wild.  Nasser contends that keeping Tony in a cage deprives him of many of his  species specific instincts. 

 

Another Louisiana summer is setting in and that means home cooling costs  are going up. In an effort to keep those monthly utility bills down,  Cleco spokesperson Robbyn Cooper suggests you set your thermostat at 78- degrees... Cooper says another good piece of advice is keeping your blinds closed

during the day to keep the hot sunlight out. She says making sure your  attic is properly insulated is also important.  Entergy spokesperson Tom Peters says installing energy efficiency light  bulbs are also a good idea.

 

The University of New Orleans has announced that a working group will determine which of the university’s 84 degree programs will be eliminated in the coming months. UNO President Peter Fos said layoffs are likely to follow those recommendations, which will seek to identify and build on the university’s strengths. The school laid off 28 employees earlier this year to help close a multimillion-dollar deficit.

 

Former  LSU  pitcher  Aaron  Nola  has been named one of  the  three finalists for the National College Baseball  Hall of Fame's National Pitcher of the Year. The award will be presented  in  Lubbock, Texas on June 28th.

 

U-L Lafayette  is  shelling  out the big bucks in a new contract for head football coach Mark Hudspeth,  which  would  make Coach Hud the highest paid coach in Sunbelt Conference.

 

The   New  Orleans  Saints  mini-camp  is  now  in  the  books,  and Quarterback  Drew Brees is clarifying comments he made about Saints' contract negotiations with tight end Jimmy Graham, saying the Saints would be fine  with  or  without  Graham.   Yesterday, Brees set the

record straight, saying he believes the black  and gold are a better team with Graham, and he's confident he will be back.

 

 

News For Friday 06/13/14


News for Friday 061314

By Dave Graichen

 

Project Road Warrior traveled through Alexandria Wednesday during its inaugural cross-country event. Riders left Seattle on June 5.  The Warriors are made up of eight riders, all of whom have been wounded in some way while serving our country. 35 year old Air Force pilot Craig Anders, one of the organizers says, “A lot of (rehabilitation programs) don’t focus on the person. With this, the ride is the rehab. He says they are giving them back a little freedom and independence.” The riders will hang up their helmets in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday.“

 

Walter Guillory, who served as executive director of the Lafayette and Opelousas housing authorities, was sentenced Wednesday to 28 months in federal prison for bribery and bid law violations. Guillory also had central Louisiana connections as well, working for  the Alexandria Housing Authority from December of 1994, to June  of 1998. He also served as assistant director of the Boys & Girls Club of Central Louisiana in the late 1990s.

 

A new poll by the Glascock Group shows a dead heat developing in the 5th  Congressional District between incumbent Congressman Vance McAllister  and state Senator Neil Riser.  In a hypothetical runoff, the survey  gives Riser 53 percent while McAllister comes in at 47 percent.  Pollster Darrell Glascock says McAllister's showing is no big surprise.  Riser has told lapolitics-dot-com he's expecting to make an announcement  next week.  McAllister has said he's leaving his options open at this  time.  The poll does suggest voters are willing to give McAllister a  second chance.  Glascock says when it comes to politics, Louisianians,  historically, have been able to forgive and forget.

 

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers says 87-percent of the teachers  they surveyed say their schools do not have the technology required for  all students to take the PARCC exam, which is an online exam tied to the  new Common Core standards. LFT spokesperson Les Landon says the survey also found most teachers believe their students do not have the computer skills necessary to take online tests. He says  this could pose a problem when it comes to judging what a student really knows based on an online test.

 

 Governor Bobby Jindal travels to Iowa this weekend to speak at a  Republican  Party of Iowa fundraiser tonight, further fueling  speculation of a run for the White House. Tonight Jindal is the headline speaker a Road To Victory Reception in  Des Moines.  He will also speak at Iowa's GOP state convention on  Saturday. 

 

Governor  Bobby  Jindal  has  signed  legislation that would require abortion doctors to have active admitting  privileges  at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.  Opponents of this bill say  it could

force  the  closure  of  up to four of the five abortion clinics  in Louisiana which would lead  women  to  choose  an  unsafe  method of ending a pregnancy.  Executive Director of Louisiana Right to  Life,

Benjamin  Clapper, says if these clinics have to close it means they are sub-standard  and that means they are not able to reach a higher standard of care.

 

The  ratings  for  the  season  premiere of Duck Dynasty are out, and according to overnight research, the show Wednesday night - even with the appearance of Governor Bobby Jindal  -  lost about 4 million viewers when compared to the season premiere of last year.

 

A 3-year-old Lake Arthur  boy's  death  has been ruled a homicide by the Acadia Parish Coroner.  Authorities say when Keaghyn Parsons was visiting his stepmother on May 19 in Evangeline,  he collapsed.  The boy was taken to a local hospital where he died.  The  Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office is investigating

 

Lafayette native Matthew Mosely completed a 15-hour swim across Lake Ponchartrain  yesterday.  It's believed he is the first person  ever  to complete the swim.   The  47-year-old  spent six months training for the 26-mile swim that started at West End  Lighthouse  and  ended in Mandeville.  Mosely  made  the  swim to highlight the restoration efforts made by the Lake Ponchartrain Basin Foundation.

 

The  attorney  for  LSU  defensive  back Jalen Mills is speaking out about  the  arrest of his client on second-degree  battery  charges, where it is alleged  he punched a woman in the mouth. Attorney Brent Stockstill says his client  is  innocent,  and  there  were  several people around when this incident took place and people should not be so quick to judge. Mills has been suspended indefinitely from the LSU football team.  A bond hearing is set for late July.

 

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend  about $7.4 billion dollars less on dad for Father's Day than they did  for mom on Mother's Day. They predict dad will get an average of

$113.80 in gifts this year, while mom got $162.94 worth of goodies.  But, before you feel bad for dad, we should point out, spending for dad this year is expected to be about  $12.5 billion while we spent $19.9 billion for Mother's Day.

 

 

news For Thursday 06/12/14


News for Thursday 061214

By Dave Graichen

 

Attorney Tiffany N. Sanders has announced her candidacy for the Division A judgeship of the 9th Judicial District Court. Sanders is a graduate of Louisiana State University and Southern University Law Center. She has served as an assistant Alexandria city attorney and worked in the Office of the Chief Counsel for the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C.

 

You  can  expect  tuition to go  up  at  Louisiana's  community  and technical colleges this fall.  The Louisiana Community and Technical College Board approved  the fee increase of up to 10 percent without dissent.   The fee hike needs  approval  from  the  state  Board  of Regents before going into effect.

 

Figures from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis show Louisiana's  economy grew 1.3 percent in 2013, which was below the national average  of 1.8 percent. The report also says Louisiana lags behind neighboring  states, but LSU Economist Loren Scott disagrees and says Louisiana has  better post-recession job numbers than other states in the southeast.  Scott says Louisiana is also on the cusp of an economic boom, as the  state has announced plans for 90-billion dollars in oil and  chemical  industrial announcements.  Scott says when this same report comes out next year, he anticipates  Louisiana's growth rate will be higher than the national average.

 

State  Police say 37 people have died in the last six months in  the Acadiana  area  as  a  result  of  not  being  buckled up in traffic accidents.   Troop I spokesperson Stephen Hammons  says  that's  why they are taking a zero tolerance stand in the Lafayette area against those who are not buckled up. Those who are  caught  without  a seatbelt face a 25-dollar fine and St. Landry Parish District Attorney Earl Taylor says, in some cases, community service is the punishment.

 

LSU  defensive back Jalen Mills has been suspended indefinitely from the team  following his arrest for allegedly punching a woman in the mouth.  Mills  was taken into custody early this morning on a charge of second degree  battery.   Baton Rouge Police Corporal Don Coppola says the incident happened on May 4th at an apartment complex.  LSU Sports Information Director  Michael  Bonnette  says  Coach  Les Miles is aware of the incident and suspended Mills indefinitely.

 

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, of Jefferson, will run for the position of House majority whip as part of the Republican leadership scramble set off by the unexpected defeat of U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a Virginia primary, Scalise said Wednesday. The post of whip is No. 3 in the U.S. House majority pecking order, after House speaker and majority leader. The current whip is Kevin McCarthy, of California, who said he would run for majority leader.

 

The Baton Rouge Police Department says a 16-year-old is under arrest in the accidental shooting death  of a 14-year-old boy. They say the suspect was sitting in the back of a vehicle playing with a gun when it went off and struck the front seat passenger, 14-year-old Brandon Bindon, in the torso. The victim was taken to a local hospital where he later died. The 16-year-old is charged with negligent homicide.

 

Lafourche  Parish  authorities  have  arrested   a   Larose  man  in connection  with  the  murder  of a Jefferson Parish woman  and  her unborn child.  29-year-old Emilio Calderon told investigators he was visiting Katherine Martinez at her  home  in Terrytown Saturday when an argument ensued.  He admitted to stabbing  Martinez several times and choking her until she was lifeless.  Calderon  will be booked in Jefferson  Parish  with  second  degree  murder  and  first   degree feticide.

 

A man who claimed he was  too hot to work outside on a job site, has been arrested for his allegedly  making  a bomb threat to the plant, so  he  could get the day off. Fifteen hundred  people  had  to  be

evacuated  from the Williams Olefin's plant in Geismar. The 18 year old from Terrytown Texas has been charged with terrorism..

 

The Louisiana Restaurant Association says they are excited to announce  the findings of a new report from the Food and Drug Administration  encouraging pregnant women to eat more seafood. LRA spokeswoman Wendy  Waren says the new advice is based on extensive peer-reviewed science

that looks at fish as a whole food.  Waren says the new advice recommends pregnant women eat at least 8  ounces, or two servings, of seafood per week.  Waren says Omega 3's that are found in seafood improves overall baby  development and brain health.

 

A 28-year-old Louisiana woman was wrongly arrested twice by the Clay  County Sheriff's Office in Florida.  Ashley Nicole Chiasson of Chalmette  shares the first and last name of a woman wanted for grand theft and  writing bad checks.  Chiasson's attorney Andrew Bonderud says the  sherrif had precise details about the woman wanted for the crimes.  Chiasson spent 28 days in jail in January and another week in jail last  month. During the course of the ordeal, she lost her home.  A similar situation happened with the same sheriff's office last year with a 17- year-old young man.  Both plan to sue.

 

 

News For Wednesday 06/11/14


News for Wednesday 061114

By Dave Graichen

 

Alexandria Police officers have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the death of 27-year-old Sheterica Brewer, whose body was found June 1. Brad Edward Jeansonne, a Louisiana National Guard soldier from Alexandria, was arrested on Monday and was charged with second-degree murder. He was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center. A joint investigation by the Alexandria Police and the FBI’s Violent Crime Task Force led detectives to Jeansonne, but authorities are not releasing a motive or the manner of death.

 

State Rep. Chris Hazel has made it official announcing his candidacy for Rapides Parish district attorney. Hazel, R-Ball, is a two-term representative of House District 27. Hazel is a  former U.S. Marine, a former U.S. Border Patrol agent and a former assistant district attorney for Grant and Rapides parishes.

 

An 88-year-old Anacoco man died late Monday night in a fire, according to the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s office.Firefighters from Anacoco and Sundown were dispatched to the fire at 192 Watkins Road just after 9:30 p.m. after a 911 call. When they arrived, the entire residence was in flames.

The body of Donald Beebe was found in the master bedroom after the fire was put out.

 

The Alexandria City Council yesterday agreed to the Central Louisiana Community Foundation managing the Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center. Council members discussed the proposed agreement at length in the council Finance and Legal Committee meeting before signing off on the deal in the full council meeting. The Central Louisiana Community Foundation is the parent organization of the Arts Council of Central Louisiana, which had managed the Coughlin-Saunders center since 2004. They have combined on management since December 2012.

 

Governor Bobby Jindal announced  Monday  he's  signed two bills into law that would prohibit smoking near Louisiana's  public schools and also the entrances of state-owned office buildings. The bill banning people  from  lighting  up  around  the  schools  goes  into  effect immediately. On January 1st, smoking won't be allowed within 25 feet of a door to an office owned by the state.

 

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the latest university to ban tobacco from all of its  campuses  on August 1st. And, according to U-L-L Associate Director of of Public Safety Joey Pons, they will offering  students, faculty and staff additional  smoking  cessation resources in their "Breathe Easy" educational campaign.

 

A Civil Service report claims that more than 8,000 classified  state employees  have  lost  their  jobs  since  Governor Jindal has taken office.  It states that most of the layoffs occurred in the last two

state   fiscal  years  as  a  result  of  the  governor's   hospital privatization  plan.   Jindal administration officials claim most of those employees were offered  jobs  by private firms taking over the services.

 

Governor Jindal is expected to sign a $53 million dollar fee hike on  uninsured drivers. The measure, by Baton Rouge Representative Barry  Ivey, increases fees for the reinstatement of driving privileges for  those caught driving uninsured. Ivey says the fee increase will fund the Insurance Verification System and also  state trooper salaries.

 

Governor Bobby Jindal will be making an appearance on tonight's new  episode of Duck Dynasty as the West Monroe Robertson's return for  their 6th season. Tonight The Pelican State leader will be shown  presenting the family with an award for their Duck Commander business.  Jindal says Duck Dynasty is a great commercial for Louisiana.

 

Based on projections released by the Louisiana Workforce Commission, the  state's annual employment growth is expected to outpace the national  rate. L-W-C executive director Curt Eysink anticipates the state's work  force will grow at an annual rate of 1.7 percent through 2015.  The employment forecasts are based on historical data and interviews  with business leaders. Eysink says the Lake Charles area should see the  largest employment growth through 2015, when compared to other metro  areas in the state.

 

The State Fire Marshal's office  says  three people died in a tragic fire at an apartment in Metairie early yesterday morning.  The  cause of the fire is unknown at this time, but investigators are treating  it as  suspicious.  One person was injured when jumping from the second story window

 

The  Monroe  Police  Department  says  a  mother  allegedly shot and critically injured her son following a dispute.  Sgt.  Mark  Johnson says the 69-year-old woman seems to have snapped during some type of confrontation  with  her  47-year-old  son  at  the home they shared together. The victim is in critical condition at a local hospital.  The mother, who also shot and killed the family dog, has not been charged at this time and the case has  been turned over to the District Attorney's office for review.

 

President  Barack  Obama  signed  a  bill  into  law Tuesday that will provide  Louisiana  with  significant  flood  protection   and   the construction  of  key  coastal  restoration projects.  Senator David Vitter says the authorization for  the  Morganza  to  the Gulf flood protection and six Louisiana Coastal Area projects go hand  in  hand. Vitter says  in  order  to  nail down the funding for these critical projects, there will still need  to  be  battles  fought and it will take some time, but he is optimistic this will happen.

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries  is adding 13 new agents  to  its  roster.   The department holds its law  enforcement academy graduation  today to give the oath of office to their newest officers who have gone through six months of training.

 

Authorities in Assumption Parish says a 4-year-old is who was playing outside his home in the driveway is dead after he was accidentally run over by his grandmother. Police  says  the  4-year-old  was  transported to a hospital in Morgan City where he died of his injuries.

 

According to Slidell  Police, a fight between two families outside a restaurant ended with two people shocked with a stun gun, one person grazed by a bullet and  several  people  injured.  They say 9 people were  arrested in the incident which apparently started  when  words were exchanged between the two families who did not know each other. Investigators   believe  there  were  about  20-30  people  actively fighting including juveniles and more arrests are expected.

 

 

News For Tuesday 06/10/14


News for Tuesday 061014

By Dave Graichen

 

The APD reports 17 people have been charged with soliciting for prostitution after a two day sting in the city. The operation was conducted by the Alexandria Police Department in conjunction with the Central Louisiana Safe Streets Task Force and FBI Task Force. Those arrested were all males and ranged  in age from 18 to 43. Officials said the operation is part of an ongoing effort to combat vice and human trafficking in Central Louisiana.

 

Some severe weather is expected across the state today as a cold front  slowly moves across Louisiana today and tomorrow.  The front brings the possibility of severe weather in the form of damaging wind, hail, and tornados. State climatologist  Barry Keim says this a late season front  that we don't see often in the Bayou State.  He says, the good news is,  we could use the rain.  Rainfall potential is in the two to two and a half in range with the  greatest possibility in southeast Louisiana. 

 

A report from the US Veterans Affairs Department indicates the average  wait times for a new patient at the three major VA medical centers in  Louisiana can run anywhere from 30 to 51 days.  Secretary of the  Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs David Lacerte says the wait times are dependent on the hospital and the type of care that  is needed.  The report was prompted by the ongoing nationwide VA scandal  which has revealed long waiting times and falsified appointment lists at  VA hospitals. 

 

A report released yesterday by the state legislative auditor shows nursing homes rank among the worst in the nation in key quality measures, with high rates of bed sores and use of restraints among the 25,000 elderly and disabled people who live in them. In addition, the informational report said Louisiana has the lowest overall nursing staff out of all 50 states. The auditor’s report looked at occupancy rates, costs to the state and quality of care delivered at the state’s 259 Medicaid nursing facilities.

 

A  Monroe  woman  has  been  arrested  for  allegedly  stabbing  two children.   The  Ouachita  Parish  Sheriff's Office says 32-year-old Latasha Denise Hampton jumped through a closed window of a residence and began to strangle a two-year-old and then stabbed him.  Upon her arrest, police realized an 11 year old stabbed earlier in the evening was Hamilton’s son. Police say they do not believe the woman even knew the family where she attacked the child. Both victims are recovering.

 

Louisiana  has  some  of  the lowest  gas  prices  in  the  country. According to the American Automobile  Association, the average price at  the pump for regular gasoline in the  Pelican  State  is  $3.40. Only  Mississippi  and  Missouri  are  slightly lower.  Triple-A  says gas prices should remain steady through the summer months.

 

Opelousas Police have  arrested  a  31-year-old  man for the alleged rape  of an 83-year-old  woman over the weekend.  Karl Shelvin  was  booked for home  invasion  and  aggravated rape.  The victim remains in the hospital for observation.

 

Governor Jindal signs a series of bills into law he says will protect  victims of human trafficking and prosecute those to the fullest extent  of the law who exploit women and children into sexual activity. Jindal  says human trafficking crimes are on the rise in Louisiana and he  believes this legislation can have a profound impact. The governor says they've also  added 250-thousand dollars in the state budget to develop and implement  a human trafficking course.

News For Monday 06/09/14


News for Monday 060914

By Dave Graichen

 

Miss Nevada Nia Sanchez, a fourth-degree black belt in the Korean martial art of taekwondo, was crowned Miss USA 2014 Sunday night in Baton Rouge. The 24-year-old from Las Vegas beat out 50 other contestants from all the states.

 

The National Journal  reports, an independent super PAC linked to U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s bid for Louisiana governor picked up a new big contributor: Vitter’s U.S. Senate war chest. David Vitter for U.S. Senate gave the Vitter-friendly Fund for Louisiana’s Future a contribution of $100,000 on Feb. 14, according to a filing with the Federal Elections Commission. The Journal went on to say, Through a super PAC and some creative lawyering, Vitter and his allies appear to have found a way to redirect all of that money to support his gubernatorial campaign, and in doing so, they’ve pioneered a new method for politicians nationwide to get around old prohibitions on spending federal money on state races and vice versa.” Super PACs, political action committees, can accept unlimited campaign contributions as long as they operate independent of the candidates they support.

 

Governor  Bobby  Jindal  has  a  busy  travel  schedule  this month, visiting  key  presidential  primary  states.  Over the weekend he was  in South  Carolina  and  next weekend he plans  to  be  in  Iowa.   The governor  is also scheduled  to  speak  at  the  Faith  and  Freedom Coalition's  Road to Majority conference in Washington, DC June 19th through the 21st.

 

A recent decision by a federal judge ordering officials at Angola to install air-conditioning on death-row has been put on hold.  The 5th Circuit  Court  of  Appeals'  ruling  halts  implementation until an

appeals  panel  reviews  US  District  Court Judge  Brian  Jackson's decision.

 

Governor  Jindal  has  signed  into  law  a  bill  that  will  allow optometrists to perform certain surgeries.  Ophthalmologists strongly opposed  this  measure  saying  optometrists  don't  have the proper training  to  perform  the  procedures  at  issue.   But  Dr.  Jared Sandefur,   Executive  Director  of  the  Optometry  Association  of Louisiana, says  optometrists  throughout the country are authorized to perform these procedures and have an exemplary safety record. Sandefur says it will probably be about  six months before the first optometrists   are   trained,  then  certified  to   perform   these procedures.

 

A bill that has now been signed into law by  Governor  Bobby  Jindal would  give  public schools the right to put up a nativity scene  or Christmas tree  during  the  Holidays. Supporters of the measure say this would keep Louisiana in line  with  an already US Supreme Court decision  that  allows  such  displays.  But they  couldn't  include anything  that  would point to a specific religion.  The  law  takes

effect August 1.

 

In the final hours of the legislative session, lawmakers passed a $53 million fee hike on drivers who don’t maintain car insurance as required by law. Most of the money expected to be raised is slate to go to boost the salaries of Louisiana State Police troopers. Other beneficiaries of the fee hike include local sheriffs and district attorneys.  The measure raises fees for the reinstatement of driving privileges if a driver has been caught without insurance, boosts penalties for not carrying proof of insurance in a vehicle and requires a minimum $75 fine for someone caught in violation of the law requiring insurance on top of the other fines and penalties.

 

Governor Jindal signs into law a measure that provides less government  interference for those who sell baked goods like breads, pies and jams  made in their own kitchen and make less than $20,000 a year doing so. These individuals are now exempt from some  state licensing standards.  The new law does require a warning label on home based goods as a way of  notifying the consumer a product was made in an uninspected kitchen.

 

Governor Jindal has signed legislation banning the use of hand held cell  phones while driving in an active school zone.  The law will only be  enforced in school zones where visible signs are posted indicating the  ban. 

 

More information is coming out about the transgender woman who was held  captive as a sex slave in Natchitoches Parish. Sheriff Victor Jones is  not releasing the victim's name, but says she's in her early 50s and  came to Louisiana from Minnesota after meeting her eventual captors  online.  Investigators say the relationship between the victim and the 3 people  arrested was consensual at first. But, the relationship deteriorated to the point where the victim was chained outside without any clothes, food or water. Jones says the three people arrested are in the Natchitoches  Parish Detention Center and the investigation continues.

 

In another example of how Hollywood South is the place for film making,  one of the former Dukes of Hazzard has built is own movie studio in Livingston  Parish. John Schneider, aka Bo Duke says he's now directing films out of a location in  Holden, where he also lives.  Schneider has already directed the movie, "Smothered", at locations  around downtown Baton Rouge and at his 58-acre studio but it has not  yet been released.   

 

 

News For Friday 06/06/14


News for Friday 060614

By Dave Graichen

 

 

A  Deville  man  is  dead following a car versus motorcycle accident Wednesday night here in Rapides  Parish  on Highway 28 just east of LA highway 116.  Louisiana State Police say that they suspect high speed on the part of the motorcycle was partially  to blame for the accident that

killed fifty-five year old Chris Adams. The crash remains under investigation.

 

Three people have been arrested for allegedly keeping a transgender woman as a slave in the Ajax area of Natchitoches Parish. According to investigators, the victim was held captive, tortured and forced to perform menial tasks and sexual acts. Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones Jr. called it the most “severe and disturbing” case of human trafficking ever investigated in the parish.

The three suspects , two women and a man in their late 30’s  turned themselves in Wednesday and remained in custody at the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.

 

After a week of fun events with southern flare around Louisiana, the  nationally televised Miss USA Competition is happening in Baton Rouge  this Sunday. You can watch the pageant live on NBC at 7pm.  The Miss USA Competition is held by Miss Universe which is a joint venture between Donald Trump and NBC Television.

 

You can add Louisiana Tech to the list of universities in Louisiana who have decided to become tobacco-free.  Spokesman Dave Guerin says the change will be effective August 1st in accordance with state law directing all public  colleges  to  develop  smoke free policies for their campuses. He  says the tobacco-free policy will apply to  all  Louisiana  Tech faculty, staff, students, visitors, and contractors.

 

This weekend is the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' Free  Fishing Weekend.  People of all ages can fish on any of the state's  public waters without a fishing license this Saturday and Sunday.  The Department hopes the weekend will introduce newcomers, visitors, and even people with rusty skills to one of the state's most popular  sports. 

 

The prize amount for Saturday night's Powerball jackpot will be an estimated $221 million dollars. That's an approximate cash value of $132 million dollars.

 

Gov. Bobby Jindal took optometrists’ side on controversial legislation that stirred up the state’s medical community. Jindal announced Thursday signing into law House Bill 1065. The bill allows optometrists to increase their workload by performing injections into the eyelid to treat styes and tackling laser procedures that don’t involve anesthetic or stitches. The legislation caused controversy because it allows optometrists, who are not physicians, to expand their practices. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors; optometrists are not. Optometrists routinely do eye exams, vision tests, diagnose and treat certain eye abnormalities.

 

The Philadelphia Phillies selected Aaron Nola with the seventh pick in the MLB draft Thursday night, quickly ending any suspense for LSU’s All-America hurler. Nola, a Baton Rouge native, became just the 16th LSU player chosen in the first round. Pitcher Kevin Gausman, in 2012, is the most recent member of that group.The bonus allotted for that pick is $3.3 million, but a team isn’t restricted to that number.

 

The LHSAA executive  committee has agreed to split the football state championships at the Mercedes  Benz  Superdome  over  a  two-weekend period.   The  select  school  title  games will be played on Friday December the fifth, and the non-select  schools on December 12th and 13th.

 

A Mississippi sports reporter, who was in the Hub City for the baseball  regional, apologizes after ripping Lafayette. Matthew Stevens, a  Mississippi State beat writer for the Commercial Dispatch, said on  Bulldog Sports Radio he couldn't understand what people were saying and  complained about a police officer unnecessarily pulling him over.  Bulldog Sports Radio is an internet station devoted to Mississippi State  sports. His comments went viral and upset many people in Acadiana.  Stevens suggested schools should teach Cajun as a foreign language, so  people can understand  Louisianans when they travel to the Bayou State.

 

Legalize Louisiana will hold a rally on the steps of the State Capital  Saturday afternoon for the legalization of marijuana.  The group does  not believe elected officials are listening to the people.  A

co-organizer of the event, Kerri Lee Short-Brecheen (bri-keen'), says  they are in the majority.  She says 57-percent of Americans are in favor of marijuana reform. Several bills dealing with marijuana reform were heard during this  legislative session and none of them passed. 

 

 

 

 

News For Thursday 6/5/2014


News for Thursday 060514

By Dave Graichen

 

The body of a woman found dead Monday in a residence in Colfax has been identified as 33 year old Jhonnie Kashun Kite of Colfax. Grant Parish deputies Monday afternoon discovered the bodies of Kite and McKennedy Armstead, a Rapides Parish inmate who walked away from a work-release detail Monday morning and stole a city of Alexandria truck. The cause of the deaths has yet to be released by authorities. However, the case is being investigated as a murder suicide.  

 

Alexandria police report an Alexandria Wal-Mart employee and an alleged accomplice have been arrested in connection with the theft of two $1,000 money orders from the Wal-Mart on Coliseum Boulevard. The employee, 36 year old Joe Nathan Hall III, faces a charge of theft over $1,500. 23 year old Jerome Lamar Dorsey is charged with theft of $500-$1,500. Both men are sitting in the Rapides Parish Jail.

 

As  part  of  continuing  efforts  to  speed  up wait times at Motor Vehicle Offices across the state, Louisiana State Police says you'll now be able to use plastic to pay for your fee.  The state announced yesterday that you will now  be  able to pay your fees utilizing debit cards, credit cards, and e-checks. Oh, but convenience comes with a charge, a fee of $1.25 plus 1% of the total charge on all  debit  and credit card transactions.

 

Early yesterday Governor  Bobby  Jindal  told the press he was  waiting on an opinion from the Attorney General before signing legislation  that would block a lawsuit filed by a southeast Louisiana levee board  against  oil and gas companies for damages to the state's coastline. Apparently, the Governor didn’t like the AG’s opinion to veto the bill. He rejected it.. No word on when Jindal will officially sign the bill.

 

Several large budget films are being shot in Louisiana  this  summer such  as  Fantastic  Four,  Terminator  5, Pitch Perfect 2 and a new Jurrassic Park movie as Hollywood South continues  to  boom.   Chris Stelly,  executive director of Louisiana Entertainment says some of the largest  films  in  the  world  are  being produced right now in Louisiana.

 

Governor  Jindal  has  awarded  his  second  Governor's   Award  for Entrepreneurial  Excellence  to  Metal  Shark  Boats  in Jeanerette. Metal  Shark  is  a  leading  supplier of welded aluminum boats  for commercial, defense, and law enforcement applications worldwide.

 

A fire broke out late Wednesday morning at Westlake Chemical Corporation’s vinyls plant inside a refrigeration unit that stores a non-hazardous, but reactive organic chemical used in making common household plastic PVC. Smoke from the fire, which lasted about an hour and caused no injuries,  could be seen from miles away.

 

Two  Louisiana-based  companies  are included in this year's Fortune 500.  Monroe-based CenturyLink dropped from number 150 to number 158 this year while New Orleans-based Entergy climbed from number 261 to number 242 in the list of top-revenue  generating  companies  in the

United States

 

The  St.  Martin Parish Sheriff's Office has arrested a  St.  Martin Parish  correctional   officer   on   multiple  charges.   After  an investigation, 22-year-old Marshall Babineaux  Jr.  of Breaux Bridge

was arrested Tuesday on charges of malfeasance in office,  possession with  intent of distribute marijuana, and introduction of contraband in a penal institution.

 

A 33-year-old Washington Parish  man  has  been arrested and charged with  being  in  possession  of six stolen military  veterans  grave plaques.  Amos Bellew apparently  removed  the  plaques  from  their graves  and  attempted  to  sell  them  to  a scrap metal dealer who informed the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office.   The  plaques  are valued at $1000 each.

 

After a series of negative ads against democratic senator Mary Landrieu  earlier this year, the only TV ads running now are commercials of  Landrieu promoting herself. U-L Lafayette political science professor  Pearson Cross says there's still five months to go before the November  4th primary, so this is just the calm before the storm.  So far third-party conservative groups have been the ones to attack  Landrieu and now Congressman Cassidy in radio & television commercials. Cross says eventually Landrieu's  main challenger, Baton Rouge Congressman Bill Cassidy will have to be  more aggressive, plus these third party groups only have so much money.

 

A state appeals court says they will not hear another case regarding the  seven  consecutive  five  year  prison  terms that Brett Gerald received for driving drunk when seven people from  Baton  Rouge died in  a  crash  he  was involved in in 2012. The 1st Circuit Court  of Appeal last month affirmed  Gerald's  convictions on seven counts of vehicular  homicide and the consecutive  5  year  sentences.  Gerald pleaded guilty  to  the  charges.  His lawyer says he's now going to take the case to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

 

Funding  delays are pushing back the projected production start date for the new Elio Motors 3 wheeler plant in Shreveport.  The original start date was scheduled for this March, but now it looks as if they will have to delay that until September of 2015.

 

LSU pitching star Aaron Nola was  named  one  of the three finalists for the 2014 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award. The honor is given to the nation's top amateur baseball player. Fans  can  vote  for their favorite choice at GoldenSpikesAward.com.

 

The Ragin Cajuns are gearing up to play Ole Miss this weekend in the Super Regionals. U-L Lafayette beat Mississippi  State five to three to  advance to play the Rebels, who won their regional  with  a  win over Washington.

 

 

 

 

 

News For Wednesday 06/04/14


News for Wednesday 060414

By Dave Graichen

 

Funeral arrangements have been set for Friday in Ruston for the little  girls from West Monroe who were killed apparently by their mother over  the weekend. Ari Forbis is the father of the 3 and 4 year olds who were  found dead along with their mom on Saturday. Forbis's friend Ryan Dieck  (Dyke) has set up a donation fund for the family.  The GoFundMe.com account, which is in Forbis's name, had grew to almost  $30,000 just 35 hours after it was started.

 

After less than a year, Rodney Alexander has stepped down as Secretary  of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs.  Alexander accepted  Governor Jindal's appointment to the position last September after  resigning from Congress.   A spokesperson for the LDVA says Alexander is not planning to run for  congress and will pursue something in the private sector. Governor Jindal has appointed former Deputy Secretary David LaCerte  as Alexander's successor. 

 

A court petition filed Tuesday in Baton Rouge is seeking to block the state’s plan to close Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville. The petition claims the process for an April 2 Senate committee hearing on Senate Concurrent Resolution 48 violated the state Open Meetings Law and thus should be declared Null and Void. The Resolution, which was approved by the House and the Senate during the recently concluded legislative session, endorses the state’s plan to close Huey P. Long and supports the already-in-effect privatization of many health-care services that previously had been offered at HPL.

 

Governor Jindal is looking at his options when it comes to ending  Louisiana's involvement with Common Core. Attempts to end the state's  participation with the new math and English standards were unsuccessful  in the legislative session. Jindal says he may be able to remove  Louisiana from Common Core with executive action.  State Superintendent of Education John White says Jindal doesn't have  legal authority to end the state's participation with Common Core.  Jindal used to be a supporter of Common Core, but he's not anymore.

 

The  2014 legislative session ended Monday evening at 6. Governor Bobby  Jindal says he's happy with the way things went this year. He likes  the  passage  of  bills  aimed  at  cracking  down  on  human trafficking  and  domestic  violence. He also says he's glad nothing passed that would have expanded  government  funded  health care for lower income residents. Many  say  the  2014 legislative session will be remembered  as  one where mostly nothing happened.

 

The State Democratic Party of Louisiana  released  a statement calling this  year's legislative session a disaster for Louisiana's  working families  accusing  Republican  leadership  of  not listening to the

people of the state who they say want the Medicaid expansion and the minimum wage raised.

 

The state legislature passed a bill that would move up the date of the  state's presidential primary by two weeks. If signed by Governor Jindal,  the primary election would be held on March 5, 2016, which would be  during "Super Tuesday" week.  Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says the  move will add importance to the Louisiana primary. Currently the Louisiana primary is scheduled for March 19 making the  Bayou State the 25th state to hold a primary. 

 

A bill that would require doctors  to  keep  a  brain  dead pregnant woman  on life support got final legislative passage on Monday.  The measure  would mandate that woman must be kept alive until her child is born. The provision only applies though if the woman doesn't have a living will  and  it also includes compromise language that allows family members to have final say in end of life decisions.

 

The  state  Department  of  Environmental Quality has concerns about President  Obama's  plan  to reduce  carbon  emissions  coming  from existing power plants.  The  US  EPA  wants  Louisiana to cut carbon dioxide by 40-percent.  That could mean tighter  controls  on  power plants.  DEQ Press Secretary Greg Landry says they are still looking over the proposed regulations, but there is some level of skepticism over whether the new rules will achieve the desired results.

 

A legislative auditor’s report finds problems with how LSU's Board of  Supervisors awards scholarships. LSU's board is required to file an  annual report of who receives scholarships. But  Auditor Ernie  Summerville says the report does not show what specific criteria was  reached to receive the scholarship.  The audit found no specific criteria being used to award scholarships.

For the 2012-2013 school year, the reported value of scholarships  handed out was $1.35 million. 

 

Before  the  session  ended  Monday   the  Louisiana  Legislature approved a bill that would put harsher penalties  on  repeat Peeping Toms. The bill would increase the punishment from $500 and up to six months in prison for any violation of the state's Peeping Tom law up to $750 and six years in prison on second violations.

 

Starting  in August, a public school teacher may legally  receive  a gift valued up to $25 from a student. Act 172 was signed into law by Gov. Bobby  Jindal  last  week.  Gonzales  Rep.  John Berthelot says currently  public  servants are prohibited from getting  gifts  from those they serve but he thought this would be a fair exception. He says a student could give a $25 gift to their teacher up to three times a year.

 

As the weather heats  up,  so  does  the battle to cool death-row at Angola.  Three  death-row inmates sued the  state  citing  the  heat conditions on death  row  as cruel and unusual punishment. A federal judge has ordered Angola to  implement  a  cooling  plan.

 

 

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