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 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 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
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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
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 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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