News for Friday 103015
By Dave Graichen
Forecasters say the weather on Halloween could be frightening, as severe storms and heavy rainfall is expected. State Climatologist Barry Keim says a front will stall along the Louisiana coast and it will help to produce another significant rain event, similar to what we saw last weekend. Keim says it’s a good thing many parishes have moved Trick or Treating to Friday, because heavy downpours are expected Saturday.
With that in mind, the cities of Pineville, Alexandria, Oakdale, Ball, Boyce and Colfax have moved Trick Or Treating time to tonight from 5p to 9p. Leesville, while planning many inside activities, plans to celebrate Halloween Saturday night.
The State Police reminds kids and parents as you hit up neighborhoods, please remain on guard for possible hazardous or dangerous situations. He says parents should make sure kids have flashlights and something reflective on their costume
The state Department of Education says the percentage of high schools in Louisiana who have received an “A” grade under the state’s accountability system have increased from 10-percent last year to 23-percent this year. Education Superintendent John White says higher graduation rates and ACT scores led to 73-percent of high schools receiving at least a “C. On the scale, schools scoring 100 points or higher receive an A. Rapides Parish has three high schools with scores in the 90s, with Pineville High School coming closest to an A at 97.4. White says the state plans to raise the bar on standards over the next ten years.
The latest data has been released about students who receive state-financed tuition from the TOPS program. The study, presented Wednesday to the Board of Regents, shows students who start college with the free tuition aid graduate at higher rates than students without TOPS.
On the down side, awards from the program, which costs more than $280 million this year, continue to go disproportionately to white students and students from wealthier families.
A new survey on the governor’s race shows Democrat John Bel Edwards leading Republican David Vitter by a 52 to 40-percent margin. The survey also shows Vitter’s unaffordability rating has climbed to 52-percent. Political analyst Clancy Dubos believes Edwards could actually be higher than 12 points. The survey was conducted on behalf of the anti-Vitter Gumbo PAC.
Meanwhile Vitter is staying busy on the campaign trail. The US Senator was in Lafayette yesterday announcing endorsements of a group that represents Louisiana’s oil and gas industry and also several politicians from the Acadiana region, many of of whom supported Republican Scott Angelle in the primary.
The NAACP of New Orleans says they’ve been getting complaints about Vitter’s ad targeting Edwards and using the words “dangerous thugs” to describe people recently released from prison. They feel it’s a veiled attempt by the US Senator to scare the white community. The Vitter campaign says they don’t plan to pull the spot.
The Shreveport Police department says two people have been arrested in connection with the deadly shooting that claimed the life of one woman and injured two others. Police say 29-year-old Elbert Fredieu was arrested in the shooting and 24-year-old Scarlett Groce as an accomplice. The the surviving victims remain hospitalized. Authorities are still trying to figure out the motive for the shootings.
Fans are scrambling to get tickets for the top 10 matchup next weekend between LSU and Alabama. But Cameron Papp with Stub Hub says tickets for the November 7th showdown are not as pricey as previous LSU-Alabama games in 2013 and 2011. He says the cheapest ticket available for the November 7th game is 195-dollars.
Festival Productions announced yesterday that next year’s Bayou Country Superfest will be expanded to three days and promises to include an explosive line up. BCS in Tiger Stadium will take place Memorial Day weekend 2016 from Friday through Sunday, May 27th-29th. Organizers say they will announce the performers on November 10th.
Louisiana Tech will face Rice tonight in a big Conference USA matchup. The Bulldogs are 3-and-1 in league play, while Rice is 2-and-1. A loss for either team, likely knocks them out of contention to play in the CUSA title game. The game will be on Fox Sports One at seven o’ clock. You can also hear the game tonight starting at 5:30p on espn 1410.
Thursday night NFL it wal the Patriots over the Dolphins 36 to 7..
News for Thursday 102915
By Dave Graichen
Well, it is now official, Alexandria has a new festival. The Alex Winter Fête will be held downtown from December the 3rd through the 5th. Details of the holiday-themed festival were announced Wednesday at a “launch party”. The first night of the festival will coincide with the Holiday Magic Downtown lighting of the Christmas tree in the mini-park and the first night of the Twelve Nights of Christmas celebration.
Two Alexandria men have been charged with drug offenses after leading Rapides Parish Sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed chase Tuesday. Dedrick Howard and Davetreous Howard were charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. No one was injured during the pursuit.
Higher Education Commissioner Joseph Rallo says public colleges and universities are seeking a 636-million dollar increase in state funding next year. That’s nearly doubled what they received this fiscal year. Rallo says the gubernatorial candidates say higher education will be a priority and he hopes whoever is elected will stick to that promise. Rallo says an increase in state funding is needed to meet the state’s workforce demands.
For the second time this week in Louisiana a student has been arrested amid allegations they made threatening statements about schools on social media. This time the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office 17-year-old Jada Perron allegedly posted on Snapchat that a shooting would happen at Breaux Bridge High School yesterday. An investigation was immediately launched she was charged with terrorizing.
One of the men that was videotaped by a private investigator from a firm working for the David Vitter campaign believes Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand was the target of the so-called spying incident. Attorney John Cummings says, he believes Normand was the target because the Sheriff’s Association was going to endorse Democrat John Bel Edwards in the gubernatorial runoff. Robert J. Frenzel, the investigator, is charged with one count of misdemeanor criminal mischief in the incident.
The AARP of Louisiana has released a “Video Voter Guide” which features the two candidates for governor discussing their views on policies which impact older voters. AARP Louisiana spokesman Andrew Muhl says they want the electorate to know where Republican David Vitter and Democrat John Bel Edwards stand on critical issues. The video can be viewed online at aarp.org/la. Muhl says voters over the age of 45 make up 56% of Louisiana’s registered voter population, and their goal was to present as much information as possible to allow them to make an informed decision.
Blue Bell ice cream lovers are in luck because the creamery is offering delivery services to homes and businesses. Spokesperson Joe Robertson says they will send you four half-gallons of ice cream and ship it anywhere across the country for everyone missing Blue Bell. Robertson says Blue Bell will begin phase 2 of restocking on Monday and Louisiana should see the ice cream in stores again during phase 4. But Robertson wouldn’t comment on when phase 4 would begin. By the way, the cost for the 4 ½ gallons direct to your door, Just 129-dollars.
State Police Col Mike Edmonson announces the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles collected just over $2 million dollars in fines since they sent out 1.2 million warning letters to drivers. He said that as of today, the agency was able to clear the driving records of about 30,000 people since the notices went out October 13th.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office says a woman is under arrest amid allegations that she tried to kill her 2-year-old little boy. EBRSO spokeswoman Casey Hicks says Hicks says the woman admitted to beating her child and biting him as a form of discipline. She says the woman was angry that her son got water out of the refrigerator which is when she hit him with a belt causing him to fall on the tile floor and hit his head.
Plans are changing all over the place as the National Weather Service expects almost the entire state to be covered in rain on Halloween night. Many communities are moving trick-or-treat to Friday from 6pm-8pm. East Baton Rouge Parish started the movement and trick-or-treat is on the evening of the 30th in areas including Lafourche, Livingston, Jackson, St. Francisville, Terrebonne Parish and more are expected.
Shreveport Police are looking for a gunman who fatally shot one woman multiple times and seriously injured two others. Authorities say the suspect is still on the loose but detectives are following up on leads. No motive for the shooting has been announced.
The Saints take a two-game winning streak into Sunday’s game against the New York Giants. Quarterback Drew Brees says it’s been nice to see the team have some success on the field, but they can’t stop now. Brees will have to be careful with the football on Sunday. New York is second in the NFL with 11 interceptions. They had three picks last week in a win over Dallas.
The Kansas City Royals now have a 2 to 0 advantage after defeating the NY Mets 7 to 1 last night in game two of the World Series. There’s now game tonight, Play resumes Friday in New York.
News for Wednesday 102815
By Dave Graichen
Officials from the city of Alexandria and the Alexandria/Pineville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau will discuss plans today for an upcoming Christmas festival. Last week, the Alexandria City Council voted to support the festival and to authorize Mayor Jacques Roy to spend up to $100,000 for planning. City officials said contributions from the private sector are expected to reduce the city’s expenditure considerably. The festival is tentatively set for Dec. 3-5.
Drive-through flu shots available at the Rapides Parish Health Unit on Coliseum Blvd. this Friday from 8a to 3p. Participants should bring insurance information, including Medicare/ Medicaid cards. Those without insurance may be asked to pay a maximum $10 fee.
Louisiana public school students ranged from 43rd to 49th nationally in reading and math in the latest installment of the nation’s report card, which was released late Tuesday night. The results show that fourth-graders were ranked 43rd nationally in reading, an improvement over 47th in 2013 and 50th in 2009. Fourth-graders finished 45th in the nation in math, an improvement over 49th two years ago. Eighth-graders were 48th in reading, the same as 2013, and 49th in math, down a spot from 48th two years ago.
The US Guard says they are investigating a report of a debris field off the coast of Mississippi in connection with a missing aircraft which is believed to have a Louisiana man on board. They say there were three people on the plane which has not been on radar since 12:30 Monday. The Coast Guard was notified Monday night and several agencies are assisting in the search. The flight reportedly first picked up a man in Ruston.
The presidential GOP hopefuls will participate in a debate hosted by CNBC tonight and again Governor Bobby Jindal will not be on the main stage. Instead, Jindal and three others will participate in an undercard debate at 5 PM. Jindal’s campaign argued he should be included in the main debate, because recent poll numbers from Iowa, the first primary state, showed he was gaining support. The governor even threatened to skip the CNBC debate, but after thinking about it, Jindal will attend. In the national polls, Jindal is not performing well.
A teen from Hammond has been arrested for allegedly posting a cartoon on online Monday night which contained a threatening to area schools. Cops say the image depicted a character with a gun saying if would be best if you don’t go to school in Hammond the next day. Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards says there was no credibility to the threat and the teen is charged with terrorizing.
The Louisiana governor’s November 21st runoff has already started getting nasty just a few days after the primary. Republican David Vitter is tying Democrat John Bel Edwards to President Obama’s policies and Edwards is running spots calling Vitter dishonest. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says not only will the two candidates be throwing barbs at each other with commercials, so will outside groups, which could make it tough on TV viewers. He says the negativity is in full swing.
The Department of Children and Family Services is starting a statewide campaign to recruit more, desperately needed foster parents. Secretary Suzy Sonnier says fostering is a temporary situation with a permanent impact. Sonnier says there is a critical need for foster homes, with over 300 children entering the system every month. She says with the shortage of homes available, in many cases, siblings are separated from each other. Currently there are about 48-hundred children in foster care in the state.
According to a report by InsuranceQuotes.com, even though Louisiana has some of the highest insurance rates in the country, we have the largest savings for bundling home and auto insurance. The numbers indicate drivers here are padding their wallets with an extra $548 on average when car and homeowner’s insurance is from the same company. The national bundling savings is $295.00
Slidell police say they are trying to determine who killed a family dog by placing a bag around its head. The deceased canine was found inside a home and it appears someone broke into the residence to kill the dog. Authorities say the homeowner recently received social media threats from an individual and had his property vandalized prior to the dog’s death.
The heavy rainfall and strong winds we saw this past weekend has created some headaches for sugarcane farmers as they harvest their crop. LSU Ag Center sugarcane specialist, Kenneth Gravois, says the wet harvesting conditions make it more difficult and costly for the farmers and also slick roads cause problems as the crops head to the mills.
The Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control issued emergency suspensions of five strip clubs on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter after they discovered prostitution and drug activity. They say the action follows a month-long investigation called Operation Trick or Treat. State Police assisted in the investigation and uncovered prostitution, drugs, and lewd and improper acts at the strip clubs. They say at least 7 other businesses are facing charges.
News for Tuesday 102715
By Dave Graichen
It was an extremely wet weekend in Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says most of the state got 5 inches of rain or more and the wettest spot was in Baton Rouge at LSU which recorded 10.5 inches. He says there is some good news as 86 percent of Louisiana was in drought conditions last week and now there could be a 1 to 2 category improvement following the rain. He says it looks like we’ll be getting more rain this weekend which should further eliminate the drought.
Louisiana has always been a state of extremes when it comes to the weather and the past few days were no exception. After many areas of the state experienced extreme draught, much of the state saw several inches of rain over the weekend. In Tangipahoa Parish, about 50 people had to be rescued from a trailer park because of flooding. By the way, State Fire Marshal Butch Browning has lifted the statewide burn ban.
Deputies with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office yesterday morning had to rescue 20 children from a school bus that stalled in a flood . The bus got stuck on a flooded bridge in the northern part of the parish.
An inaugural Manufacturing Expo will be held at Central Louisiana Community Technical College’s main campus today. The expo will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the canteen area of the main campus at 4311 South MacArthur Dr. Several employers and workforce development groups are scheduled to attend the expo, which will allow industry and education to showcase the multiple job opportunities, skill requirements, and education opportunities available in Central Louisiana.
After a turnout of just 39-percent in the primary, Secretary of State Tom Schedler hopes for a bigger turn out for the November 21st runoff. Schedler says before the election, they predicted turnout anywhere from 45 to 50-percent and voters likely didn’t show up due to frustration with this election cycle or the major rainfall across the state. The headline items on the November 21st ballot are the governor’s race, lt. governor and attorney general. He says there are another 153 races to be decided statewide.
Despite finishing a distant second in the primary, Republican US Senator David Vitter says he will be elected as the state’s next governor on November 21st. Vitter believes voters will choose him over Democrat John Bel Edwards, because Edwards does not represent the values Louisiana is seeking. But Edwards says a vote for Vitter will continue to send Louisiana down the wrong path. Vitter got 23% of the vote in the primary and Edwards had 40%.
The Louisiana Sheriff’s Association has endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards and the state’s Oil and Gas Political Action Committee is endorsing Republican David Vitter. Jeremy Alford of LA-Politics-dot-com (LApolitics.com) says this kind of support is a big deal coming so soon after the primary election. Alford says Vitter made an aggressive push to get an early endorsement from the Sheriffs and didn’t get it. He says Edwards comes from a long line of law enforcement so he had more of an advantage when it came to getting their support.
A Farmerville woman has been arrested in the kidnapping of an eight-year-old boy from Lincoln Parish. The child was found safe Sunday night in Ouachita Parish, while 23-year-old Sommer Hattaway was arrested Monday morning. Ruston Police deputy chief Clint Williams says the boy’s mother reported her son was in her vehicle asleep at a motel when a woman she was in the room with stole the vehicle. Williams says at this point they don’t think the woman knew the child was in the car when she took the vehicle and left.
The World Health Organization has announced that ham, sausage, and other processed meats could lead to colon, stomach, and other cancers. WHO researchers also said that red meat probably caused cancer, too. Leigh Ann Burns, Registered Dietician with the LSU Health Sciences Center, says meats that are transformed to improve its flavor or to preserve it are included in this category. The meat industry says the classification is unfair because cancer is a complex disease not caused by a single food.
In the latest A-P Top 25 poll, LSU is ranked fourth and they received five first place votes. Ohio State is number one, Baylor is second and Clemson is ranked third. The Tigers next opponent, Alabama, is ranked seventh and they received one first place vote. The SEC announced today that the LSU-Alabama game will kick off at 7 PM on November 7th. It will be televised by CBS.
Expectations are high as the Pelicans tip-off the regular season tonight against the defending NBA champs, the Golden State Warriors. New Orleans is considered by many as a team on the rise, but Jake Madison, who writes from the blog site, Bourbon Street Shots, says wins might be difficult early on, because the team is dealing with numerous injuries.
News for Monday 102615
By Dave Graichen
The heavy rainfall that has impacted much of the state the last couple of days should come to an end today. Gavin Phillips, with the National Weather Service, says the storm system that has dumped several inches of rain in some areas of the state is finally moving out. Phillips says it’s rare to have this kind of prolonged rain event in Louisiana in October, but it’s much needed after several weeks without significant rain.
Saturday was a good day for incumbents. All of the incumbent officials up for re-election in Saturday’s elections in Rapides Parish were reelected. Many by a large margin. At the top of that list, Sheriff William Earl Hilton. 75% of the voters in the parish wanted the popular sheriff for a 6th term. Another example, 27th District Rep. Chris Hazel. He walked away with 65% of the vote.
One of the more interesting races of the night was the race for the District 29 house of representatives seat. Jay Luneau, a white Alexandria attorney, was easily elected senator in District 29, a seat vacated by Sen. Rick Gallot. His opponent, African-American minister Joshua Joy Dara Sr. of Pineville, who ran to many people’s surprise as a republican. Nearly 60 percent of Senate District 29’s voters are black, and nearly 60 percent are Democrats.
In statewide races, most will face a runoff.
It’s Democrat John Bel Edwards and Republican David Vitter in the November 21st gubernatorial runoff. Edwards won the primary with 40-percent of the vote. He told his supporters he’ll run a honest campaign as he seeks to replace Bobby Jindal. Vitter, who got 23% of the votes, said in his post-election speech that Edwards is a liberal who supports the president.
Analysts are anticipating a close governor’s race as Democrat John Bel Edwards and Republican David Vitter will battle for votes leading up to the November 21st runoff. ULM political science professor Joshua Stockley says at this moment, he gives a slight edge to Edwards.
In the ever nasty Lt. Governor’s race, it was a close race. But, in the end, the runoff will be between Democrat Kip Holden and republican Billy Nungesser.
The attorney generals race, another close one, will be a runoff between incumbent Buddy Caldwell and Jeff Landry both men are republicans.
In the State Treasurer’s race it was a cakewalk for John Kennedy who pulled down better than 80% of the vote state wide.
Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon as well as State Ag Commissioner Dr. Mike Strain were easily reelected.
The APD reports A 12-year-old has been charged with negligent homicide in the Friday evening shooting death of an Alexandria man. Police responded to a call about a man down shortly before 7 firday night. Upon arrival, they found a man, 29-year-old Courtney Honore. It appears the man suffered a single fatal wound from an air-pellet-type weapon. Honore was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Residents of New Orleans’ French Quarter have overwhelmingly approved a new five year sales tax to keep more than 30 state troopers patrolling their historic district. Complete but unofficial returns show that nearly 1,000 people voted, and 78 percent of them voted for the tax. It will add about a quarter of a penny to each dollar spent at stores in the neighborhood. Supporters said tourists will pay most of the $2 million a year the tax is expected to bring in.
Authorities said four employees of a casino in Lake Charles have been arrested and booked on charges of computer fraud. The four were employees of the Golden Nugget casino. Louisiana State Police Col. Mike Edmonson said the arrests that were made over the last week resulted from an investigation. The probe was sparked by a call earlier in the month to the state police Gaming Enforcement Division. All four face computer fraud charges. Two were booked with theft.
The Louisiana Lottery said nobody won the jackpots in three big weekend games — but one Powerball ticket sold in Louisiana is worth $150,000 and two others are worth $50,000 each.
Wednesday’s estimated jackpot rise to $110 million for the Powerball.
The Louisiana National Guard Museum at Jackson Barracks will open a Desert Storm exhibit in February to mark the 25th anniversary and they’re seeking the help of current and former guardsmen. Museum Director Captain Heather Englehart says they’re searching for items to help tell the story of how the National Guard assisted in Operation Desert Storm. Englehart says the museum is really struggling to find videos from that time period. She says if any guardsmen has a particularly interesting story, they’re willing to interview them on camera.
LSU enters the bye week with a perfect 7-0 record after beating Western Kentucky 48 to 20 in a mud-filled game at Tiger Stadium. It’s the eighth time the Tigers have started the season 7-0, but Coach Les Miles says there’s still room for improvement. In a couple of weeks, the Tigers will visit Alabama, who is 7-and-1.
The Saints have a two-game winning streak after holding on to beat the Indianapolis Colts 27-21. It looked like New Orleans would have an easy win in Indy, but the Colts mounted a furious comeback to have a chance in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Drew Brees threw for 255 yards and one touchdown. But the biggest pass of the game was thrown by backup Luke McCown on a fake field goal. McCown’s 25-yard completion to Ben Watson set up New Orleans first touchdown of the game.
GOVERNORS RACE.. (Runoff)
John Bell Edwards 39%
David Vitter 23%
Lt Gov. Race (Runoff)
Melvin L. "Kip" Holden (D) 32.93%
Billy Nungesser 30.00%
John Young 29.0%
Atty General (Runoff)
James D. "Buddy" Caldwell (R) 35.37%
"Jeff" Landry (R) 33.00%
John Kennedy (R) 80.11% Wins
"Jim" Donelon (R) 53.51% Wins
State Ag Comm.
Michael G. "Mike" Strain (R) 58.36% WIN
All 113 precincts reporting
William Earl Hilton (D) 74.94% WIN
Police Juror -- District D
Theodore Fountaine, Jr. (D) 66.73%
Police Juror -- District E
Richard G. Vanderlick (R) 51.55%
Police Juror -- District G
Sean McGlothlin (O) 58.20%
State Senator -- 29th Senatorial District
All 124 precincts reporting
Jay Luneau (D) 59.34% WIN
State Senator -- 33rd Senatorial District
All 124 precincts reporting
Michael A. "Mike" Walsworth (R) 62.28% WIN
State Senator -- 35th Senatorial District
117 of 118 precincts reporting
James R. "Jim" Fannin (R) 52.89% WIN
State Representative -- 22nd Representative District
All 74 precincts reporting
Terry Brown (O) 52.37% WIN
State Representative -- 27th Representative District
All 37 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Parish
"Chris" Hazel (R) 64.93% WIN
BESE Board District 5
Dr. Gary Jones (Winner) 62%
CA NO. 1 (Act 473 - SB 202) -- Budget and Transportation Stabilization Trust
3796 of 3945 precincts reporting Fails
YES 47.75% 445472
NO 52.25% 487431
CA NO. 2 (Act 471 - HB 618) -- Funds for Transportation
3796 of 3945 precincts reporting Pass
YES 52.88% 502856
NO 47.12% 447994
CA NO. 3 (Act 472 - HB 518) -- Fiscal Legislative Session
3796 of 3945 precincts reporting Fail
YES 45.66% 429499
NO 54.34% 511220
CA NO. 4 (Act 470 - HB 360) -- Property Tax Exemption for Public Land/Property
3796 of 3945 precincts reporting Passes
YES 51.50% 485112
NO 48.50% 456848
News for Friday 102315
By Dave Graichen
The Alexandria City council took the first step yesterday in creating a new winter festival in the city. The council approved a resolution of support and introduced an ordinance that would allow Mayor Jacques Roy to enter into partnerships and spend up to $100,000 to put on the festival. It is not a done deal yet, the ordinance still has to be voted on. That will take place in two weeks.
It was a bit of horseplay that went terribly wrong. An 18-year-old man pleaded guilty Thursday to manslaughter in the August 2014 death of a fellow student at Natchitoches Central High School. Timmy Ray Robinson punched Johnquaries Smith, who was a leader for the school’s football team, in the school’s hallway between classes. Smith fell and hit his head on the concrete floor. He died a short time later. Robinson was 16 at the time of the incident, but was tried as an adult. Robinson faces a possible sentence of up to 40 years.
According to analysis from the Center for Public Integrity, Louisiana leads the country in political TV advertising this year at 15.8 million dollars. Jeremy Alford, with lapolitics.com, says Republican David Vitter and a Super PAC supporting him has also spent a lot of money on ads. He says much of them target the other two republican candidates. He says the bad news is that negative ads tend to keep people from voting. Election Day is Saturday.
Governor Bobby Jindal has once again been shut out of the main Republican presidential debate, but has been invited to the lower tier debate just before. CNBC will have the top 10 GOP candidates in primetime at 8pm on October 28th. The undercard debate with Jindal takes place at 6pm.
Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon believes the debt collection notices sent out by the state Office of Motor Vehicles to Louisiana citizens, who allegedly allowed their auto insurance to lapse, is an attempt by the Jindal administration to plug a hole in the state’s budget. The OMV sent 1.2 million notices notifying residents that they are facing fines for allowing their auto insurance to lapse. Many of the cases happened several years ago.
The Office of Motor Vehicles has extended its hours until 8 p.m. to answer all calls regarding the letters drivers are receiving for not paying fines for expired auto insurance.
Shreveport police say they’ve arrested a 17-year-old for making threats of terrorism towards the students at Byrd High School. Authorities say Donovan Mosley posted a video to “Facebook” that the cvilian population at Byrd should be ready when he arrives on campus with a gun. Mosley was arrested at his home and booked on one count of terrorism.
The Department of Education released additional information Thursday regarding the results from the Common Core exams that third through eighth graders took in the spring. Overall, about 15 to 35 percent of Louisiana students received “mastery” scores on the PARCC exams. In Rapides Parish, the highest percentage of students scoring advanced on any of the tests was sixth graders with 9 percent on the social studies section of the LEAP, which also tested science. PARCC tested English and math. Rapides third- and fourth-graders saw high scores in English, with 34 percent of each of the grades scoring high.
The US Department of Ag and Forestry says 45 parishes in Louisiana are in such horrible drought that farmers and ranchers are eligible for disaster aid. Those qualified have eight months to apply for low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency.
Shreveport police were involved in a shooting in front of a casino Thursday morning. Officers responded to calls from citizens about a man waving a knife at people. Shreveport police says officers demanded that the unidentified suspect drop his weapon, but instead he charged at an officer and was shot multiple times. He died a short time later.
The Terrebonne Parish Coroner’s office says a fourth person has died from the October eighth explosion at the Transcontinental Gas pipeline company in Gibson. Three men died at the scene and two were critically injured. The fourth person to die has been identified as 56-year-old Michael Hill of Paris. Tennessee.
News for Thursday 102215
By Dave Graichen
At a meeting yesterday in Alexandria, a consumer and environmental advocacy group reiterated its opposition to the proposed sale of Cleco Corp. The group, The Alliance for Affordable Energy, claims the deal is bad for customers and is being driven to enrich the company's current management. The group is encouraging people to contact the Public Service Commission members who will decide early next year whether to approve the sale of the utility. Cleco agreed last October to a sale proposal for nearly $5 billion from an investment group. The sale has received other regulatory clearance and was approved by Cleco stockholders in February. Now, it up to the PSC.
The city of Alexandria is looking at the possibility of bringing another festival, this time with a holiday theme, to downtown. The festival, that would be along the lines of the Alex River Fete, would tentatively be held from Dec. 3-5. A special council meeting was called for today to vote on a resolution of support and to introduce an ordinance so that the planning process for the festival can be expedited.
The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles has sent out over one million letters to residents and former residents, warning them that a collections agency might be used to collect fines for allowing their auto insurance lapse. A law was passed earlier this year that allows the OMV to collect money through the Office of Debt Recovery.
A federal judge has issued her final ruling in Governor Bobby Jindal’s lawsuit that takes aim at the Common Core education standards. Judge Shelly Dick is refusing to hear the governor’s claim that the US Department of Education was illegally coercing states to use the standards. The governor plans to appeal.
The investigation into the body which was found at a Sugartown residence inside a burned out truck continues according to the Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office. They say when authorities responded yesterday morning, they found the vehicle on fire in the backyard. The body is being sent to the Calcasieu Coroner’s Office and officials say it’s too early to tell if foul play is a factor.
One person has been arrested in the double murder and abduction of an elderly Baton Rouge couple. The victims, Denis and Suzanne Duplantier (do-plon shay), were found strangled to death in their vehicle at a truck stop in Hammond. Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie says 42-year-old Ernesto Alonso was arrested in Miami, Florida on several charges. Authorities say Alonso did odd jobs around the couple’s home. The arrest warrant says that a large amount of cash was missing from the victims’ home and that they were beaten.
We’re two days away from the gubernatorial elections, so is there anything the candidates can do at this point to sway voters? ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says, this late in the cycle, it’s rare that people hitting the polls would change their minds about how they are going to vote. Stockley says recent polls have suggested that many people remain undecided on who they want to vote for governor, and at this point that typically means they won’t show up to the polls.
St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain says one of their K-9′s, “Thor” is recovering from surgery today after he was stabbed by a burglary suspect. His doctors say Thor lost a lot of blood and it’s too soon to say whether he’ll be able to return to full time duty. Thor and deputies were chasing after two suspects in the Mandeville area yesterday. One of the suspects was shot and killed by police after he stabbed Thor.
The 109th State Fair of Louisiana kicks off today in Shreveport and runs until November 8th. President and Grand Marshal of the fair Chris Giordano says this year’s fair is looking to be bigger and better than ever with new carnival rides, events and food vendors.
Hundreds of new jobs are coming to the Port of Iberia as a result of two large companies who have announced plans to begin projects at the port. President of the Iberia Industrial Development Foundation Mike Tarintino says Primoris Services Corp. and Dynamic Industries are now seeking about 600 new employees to get started. He says other companies already at the port are expanding and looking for people to fill new positions. Tarintino says the reason new businesses are investing in the area is because the Port of Iberia is in an ideal location for the oil and gas industry.
The Saints are getting ready to take on the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Indy is 3-and-3 on the season and coming off a loss to New England. But Coach Sean Payton says the Colts are very good over the last few years after a loss and they have a lot of talent. The Saints are 2-and-4 on the season. You can hear the game, beginning at 10a Sunday morning on 96.9 KZMZ.
Saturday afternoon the LSU Tigers will play Host To Western Kentucky. Airtime 4pm on 970 KSYL & 96.9 KZMZ.
News for Wednesday 102115
By Dave Graichen
State Police say a 17-year-old from Alexandria lost her life Yesterday in a single vehicle wreck in Rapides Parish. Troopers says Bree Ducote lost control of her pick-up truck and ended up colliding with two trees. She was not wearing a seat belt.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission says the state set an employment record in September, but the oil and gas job losses continue at a rapid pace. 2500 non-farm jobs were added between the same time last year according to LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink. He says we’ve seen about 60 months straight now of growth year over year, however it’s not all good news. Eysink says despite over the year gains, the mining and logging sector, which includes oil and gas, lost 1200 jobs in September and 8,800 over the 12 month period. He says the longer the price of oil stays low, the more it’s going to affect employment in that category
Gas prices are below $2 again after a brief jump. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular is $1.99 down four cents from last week according to AAA.
Nearly 80% of Louisiana lawmakers races will be decided after this Saturday’s election according to LaPolitics.com. Publisher Jeremy Alford says there are 23 House races and 9 Senate races which have multiple candidates that could head to the November 21st runoff…:
He says about half of state lawmakers were automatically re-elected.
Retired state employee and teacher groups wanted to know where the four major governor’s candidates stood on issues important to them, like pension and health care benefits.
But two of the candidates declined overtures, Republicans U.S. Sen. David Vitter and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle. Both men claimed they had scheduling conflicts. When asked if they would answer the group’s questions in writing, both men declined.
And Lake Charles Police are looking for a green SUV that was involved in break-in early Tuesday morning that resulted in a three-year-old getting shot. The child is in stable condition, the two suspects are still on the run.
The Baton Rouge Police Department is looking for three men after they say a 15-year-old girl was found bound and gagged in a drainage canal Yesterday afternoon. They say the girl had been tied up in the woods since overnight.
The Hammond Police Department says a Baton Rouge couple found dead at a truck stop near I-12 was strangled and kidnapped from their home. Authorities say they used OnStar to locate the vehicle in Hammond. It appears more than one suspect is likely involved and police believe the couple was taken from their home on Sunday.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office confirms that New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach Joe Vitt was injured over the weekend while chasing two people who were trying to steal cars in his Metairie neighborhood. They say Vitt saw a woman in his front lawn trying to break into a neighbor’s car then he saw a man in his own car. While chasing them, cops say Vitt fell and was injured. Sources say he broke his ankle and arm in the fall. The suspects got away.
News for Tuesday 102015
By Dave Graichen
A federal judge rules that Louisiana must continue Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood at least 14 more days despite Governor Bobby Jindal’s push to stop payments to the clinics. Jindal’s effort began following the release of videos which allegedly show Planned Parenthood workers talking about selling fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood denies the allegation and said in a statement that the ruling protects the health and safety of thousands of Louisiana’s men and women.
The Secretary of State’s Office reports that 222,000 Louisianians cast an early ballot for October 24th’s election. A breakdown of early voting numbers reveal that 71-percent of participants were white, while just 27-percent were black. Pollster John Couvillon says the low percentage of black voters participating in early voting could have an impact on the number of voters hitting the polls Saturday. Polls will be open from 7AM to 8PM Saturday.
A longtime Louisiana political analyst finds the interest in this year’s governor’s race is a bad as he’s ever seen. Bernie Pinsonat says voters are very disappointed in the last four years with Jindal and reduced funding toward higher education and hospitals. Pinsonat says the four major candidates haven’t been able to generate any interest, because they’re all being muffled by the constant attack ads. Pinsonat says the voters are finding themselves shying away from believing the candidates can actually fix problems. He says 70-percent of voters give Jindal a negative rating and that’s rubbing off on the newest candidates.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Department of Agriculture and Forestry announce the arrest of 22-year-old Justin Murphy of Jonesboro who is charged with six counts of simple arson for intentionally setting fires when he worked as a volunteer firefighter in 2010 and 2011. Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says Murphy’s confession came while he was being questioned about another fire in north Louisiana last week. He says Murphy has not been charged in that Hill fire.
A survey released from State Farm finds many teenagers are still texting and driving ever after understanding the potential dangers. Spokesperson Roszell Gadson says over 90-percent of teens admit to knowing it’s distracting, yet 44-percent confessed they still text and drive. He says this week is Teen Driver Safety week and hopes they can get the word out for young drivers to stay focused on the road.
US Senator David Vitter’s brother has been named the new Chancellor of the University of Mississippi. Jeffery Vitter previously served as provost at the University of Kansas. In a statement, the senator says he is proud for his brother but there’s going to be payback every time the LSU Tigers whoop Ole Miss in the SEC.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office says two brothers have been arrested in connection with the murder of Nanette Me’Shell King whose dead body was found inside a burned car. Sheriff Jack Strain says the victim’s ex boyfriend, 53-year-old Gary Harris, allegedly murdered her and his brother, 64-year-old Ray Harris, helped him cover it up. Gary Harris is charged with second degree murder and Ray Harris with accessory after the fact.
According to LSU, Mike the Tiger will not be attending anymore home games, at least for the rest of this season. Ginger Gutner, with the LSU Vet School, says they can’t force the giant tiger to do anything and they will reevaluate the matter next season. Mike VI didn’t attend any games last season, and in 2013 he was only at three and some fans aren’t happy this tradition isn’t being honored.
State police report a 25 year old Mamou man died Sunday morning in a single vehicle crash. Cody Hammon lost control of his vehicle on LA 26 east of Oberlin, ran off the road and struck a tree. Troopers say Hammon, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene.
Governor Bobby Jindal’s second book is out today and in it the GOP presidential hopeful shares why he thinks he should be the next man in the White House. The title is “American Will: The Forgotten Choices That Changed our Republic.”
News for Monday 101915
By Dave Graichen
An early morning crash Saturday claimed the life of a 43 year old Pitkin man. State troopers say Keith Perkins apparently lost control of his vehicle on LA Highway 10, ran off the road and struck some trees. Perkins was wearing a seatbelt, but the impact was so severe Perkins died at the scene from his injuries. Investigators believe impairment may have been a factor.
NOAA weather forecasters predict that a very strong El Nino will bring some much needed rain to Louisiana in the coming months. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the state can expect cooler and wetter than normal conditions for the coming winter and spring. He says rainfall typically runs about 25-percent above average during an El Nino event. El Ninos also tend to bring more freezing weather as well. Forecasters call this El Nino one of the strongest on record.
Governor Bobby Jindal’s latest presidential campaign fundraising report shows he raised less than $600,000 in the third quarter and has only $261,000 on hand. By comparison, Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson raised over $20 million during the same time frame.
Recent polls show Republican David Vitter has the highest unfavoribility ratings out of the four candidates running for governor, but yet, analysts believe Vitter has the best shot at succeeding Bobby Jindal. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says once Vitter makes the runoff, his negatives will begin to go away. Many analysts predict a Vitter versus John Bel Edwards runoff.
An LSU Public Policy Research Lab report surveying people’s opinions about the 2015 election cycle found that 56-percent of Louisianans believe the state is heading in the wrong direction. Dr. Michael Henderson says only 29-percent of voters surveyed thought the state was going in the right direction. Henderson says even though voters feel this way, these negative sentiments don’t seem to be translating into positive or negative attitudes toward the candidates. He says none of the four major candidates have succeeded in consolidating the support of the dissatisfied voters.
After more than two decades of gambling in Natchez, the Isle of Capri Casino closed its doors Sunday. Isle of Capri, one of the oldest gambling houses in Mississippi, first announced the closure and sale of its hotel in August. The casino closed at noon Sunday. The hotel’s approximately $11.5 million sale to parent company, Casino Holding Investment Partners, will be completed Today. The casino should be reopening under the new banner later this week. Complete renovations of the facility will be on going for the next few months.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office says a 22-year-old woman is under arrest after authorities discovered her 3-year-old child sitting in the middle of the road with his blanket. They say upon arrival they realized the child was about 150 yards away from his house and found the mother searching for him. Halie Prejean of Lake Charles left her 3 month old inside the house to look for the other child and she was booked with two counts of child desertion.
LSU is reportedly giving Athletic Director Joe Alleva another contract extension — one year to July 2020. The Board of Supervisors will officially vote on the proposed extension at its meeting in a week. Alleva’s pay will remain the same at $725,000. Last year his deal was extended three years to July 2019.
After a thrilling, 35-28 win against No. 11/8 Florida, LSU remained at No. 5 in this week’s USA Today / coaches poll and rose one spot to No. 5 in the Associated Press poll. The Tigers picked up one first-place vote in both polls for their efforts. LSU is now the only undefeated team in the Southeastern Conference at 6-0, 4-0. The Tigers’ next opponent, Western Kentucky, received five votes in the coaches’ poll.
Governor Bobby Jindal could be getting an answer as soon as Monday on whether or not he can defund Planned Parenthood in Louisiana. The organization could lose its funding next week unless the federal judge intervenes. Jindal announced he’d stop making payments to Planned Parenthood after secretly taped videos surfaced showing its leaders discussing the sale of fetal tissue. The group denies the allegation.
The State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries wants to hear from hunters about the proposed changes to the waterfowl hunting zones. Waterfowl program manager Larry Reynolds says they’re seeking public comment through November 5th and the changes they are proposing could be significant for some hunters. Reynolds says the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission can alter waterfowl hunting zones every five years and want to make sure these choices are what hunters want. He says these are pretty significant changes being purposed.
News for Friday 101615
By Dave Graichen
State Police say a 17-year-old who had been involved in an accident was struck by another vehicle while standing on the side of the road in Glenmora Wednesday morning. Troopers say 49-year-old Danny McBride of Elmer swerved to avoid the accident and struck the woman. Katelyn Glenn, who was a senior at Bolton High, died from her injuries yesterday.
Tomorrow is the last day to early vote for the October 24th primary and the Secretary of State’s office says turnout looks to be about average. Spokeswoman Meg Casper says, so far, the numbers are only slightly behind what they saw for the Congressional elections in 2014.
A new poll from LSU shows voters are getting more interested in the October 24th primary, with about 40 percent of voters following election news, up from 25-percent last spring. Dr. Michael Henderson with the LSU Public Policy Research Lab says even though we’ve seen an increase, it’s still lower than last fall’s election. Henderson says voters’ opinions of the major candidates are evolving. He says this is especially true for Vitter, who has both the highest share of favorable opinions at 30-percent and the highest share of unfavorable opinions at 41-percent.
Due to the extremely dry conditions within the state, state officials have issued a burn ban for all private burning statewide. The order will remain in effect til further notice. A lack of rainfall in Louisiana in the past several weeks has put most of the state in drought conditions. The US Drought Monitor reports that 86-percent of Louisiana is currently dealing with drought conditions. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the last 90 days have been extremely dry. The report shows that 51-percent of Louisiana is suffering from extreme drought conditions.
The federal government has announced there will not be an increase in benefits for millions of Social Security recipients. Brenda Hatfield with Louisiana AARP says this is especially devastating because next year Medicare costs are expected to increase for seniors, veterans and the disabled. She says they’ve pleaded with Congress not to increase Medicare. The main reason given for no increase in social security benefits, low gas prices.
Another man has been convicted by a federal jury for scamming Louisiana’s film tax credit program. 38-year-old Matt Keith of Pineville was sentenced to six months in prison and was ordered to pay $1.2 million dollars in restitution. Keith conspired with movie maker Daniel Garcia who was convicted and given a similar sentence two weeks ago.
Authorities in Natchitoches Parish report a Campti man is facing multiple charges, including attempted murder of a police officer, after his SUV hit two police cars and tried to run another off the road during a high-speed chase. 23 year old Randle Perot was arrested Saturday. At the time of the chase, Perot was wanted on charges in connection with a July accident in which he allegedly fled the scene.
Alexandria Police and the U.S. Marshal’s Violent Offender Task Force took a Pineville man into custody Thursday who allegedly tried to take a woman against her will by impersonating a police officer. 57 year old James Williams was charged with impersonating a police officer and simple kidnapping.
The Louisiana Army National Guard has made significant jumps in their overall strength and retention of force. LANG ranks number four among all other states’ National Guards in overall strength of its force and first for retaining personnel. Col. Pete Schneider praises everyone at the Guard for helping raise Louisiana’s rankings. He says Louisiana ranked number 15 last year in overall strength.
A woman from Lake Charles was sentenced to three years in prison on negligent homicide charges handed down after an infant died in her care while she was high on cocaine and meth. 26-year-old Brittney Woodcock placed 6-month-old Kaden Reed in an adult bed to sleep and he died after becoming wedged between the mattress and the wall. Woodcock’s husband was sentenced to one and a half years for accessory to negligent homicide.
Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff Ivy Woods says a Jennings woman has been able to find the whereabouts of her mother, who was last seen in this state in 1982. Woods says it turns out that Lee Marie Kratzer started a whole new life in Memphis as Lisa Neese, but passed away in 2008. Woods says DNA and help from a Tennessee woman helped Kathernie Renee Kratzer find her mother after filing a missing person’s report last year
The US Attorney’s Office says a man from Amite has been sentenced to over 12 and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of heroin distribution. US District Judge Martin Feldman gave 25-year-old Coye Dotey 151 months. Prosecutors said Doty sold heroin in Hammond three times during an undercover investigation last year.
News for Thursday 101515
By Dave Graichen
The 2016-17 Louisiana Economic Outlook report shows the state’s economy will continue to feel the effects of low oil prices, but industrial booms in certain areas will create major job growth. Economist and co-author of the report Dr. Loren Scott says the biggest gains will be seen from Baton Rouge to Lake Charles. Meanwhile Scott says growth in the northern part of the state will remain mostly stagnant over the next couple of years with just a small amount of job losses predicted. He says areas in the oil patch around Houma and the Acadiana region will continue to struggle.
Even though it’s mid-October it will feel like summer again today as high temperatures will be in the 90s across much of Louisiana. Shreveport broke a 134 year-old record when temps reached the mid-90s yesterday. Brandi Hughes, with the National Weather Service, says dry conditions are helping to produce summer like weather. Hughes says it will feel more like fall this weekend as a cold front will knock high temperatures back down to the 70s for much of the state.
Two men died when a twin-engine Cessna crashed at the Hammond airport Wednesday afternoon. The Tangipahoa Parish coroner has confirmed that both of the crash victims are men, but his office has yet to determine their ages or identifications. The small plane had just taken off about 3:45 p.m., probably rising no higher than 200 feet, when it “nose-dived” into the ground and burst into flames.. Authorities say the two men were the only people aboard the plane and no one on the ground was injured.
The head of LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab says were seeing a lot more negative commercials for this governor’s race compared to 2003, which was the last competitive race for governor we had in Louisiana. Michael Henderson says we can expect to see more negative ads as we approach election day and head into a runoff. The four main candidates for governor will be involved in a televised debate tonight.
Meanwhile a new WAFB-TV/Raycom Media poll shows Democrat John Bel Edwards is leading the race with 24% support, Vitter is in second place at 21% and Republicans Jay Dardenne and Scott Angelle trail with 8% and 7% respectively. However, of the 602 respondents, a whopping 37% percent say they remain undecided on who to vote for governor next Saturday.
An Ascension Parish judge has decided that a 16-year-old accused of murder should be tried as an adult. Authorities say Jacob Westbrook stabbed 18-year-old Todd Toups, who went to a trailer home to give a girl a ride to the St. Amant homecoming dance.
State Ag & Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain says they are investigating the cause of wildfires through 6 parishes in north Louisiana which destroyed thousands of acres of land. He says one of the fires was caused by a lightning strike, another caused by a person burning a tree stump, while the others were deliberately set. Strain warns people who commit arson, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Authorities say an LSU student is under arrest on terrorizing charges after allegedly screaming into a CB radio statements about guns and shootings on the top of the student union parking garage. LSU police say they found 21-year-old Richard Aaron Bee of Mandeville wearing camouflage when he was taken into custody. Bail had not been set as of Wednesday.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s office says a local comedian has been arrested on counts including identity theft. They say 42-year-old Jennifer Kober, originally from Lake Charles but now living in California, is accused of using a family member’s debit card without permission and stealing her identify to obtain utility services for her current residence. Kober bonded out of jail and promised on her Facebook page that she’d tell the full “hilarious” story at a show next week in Lake Charles.
The Saints look to turn their season around tonight when they host the Atlanta Falcons. The Dirty Birds are undefeated, while New Orleans is 1-4 and rank last in the NFL in total defense.
Louisiana Tech will face on Mississippi State on Saturday. Tech has won three in a row, but head coach Skip Holtz wants to see his defense stop giving up big plays. Holtz says Mississippi State is playing well on offense and defense, but they may excel the most on special teams.
News for Wednesday 101415
By Dave Graichen
US Attorney Stephanie Finley announced Tuesday that the former Mamou Police Chief has been sentenced to one year and one day in prison and another former Mamou Police Chief and a former officer pleaded guilty for their roles in a series of incidents where they tazed inmates who were not resisting. The pleas and Gregory Dupis sentence are the result of a federal investigation into the illegal use of excessive force upon inmates at the jail.
Early voting began Saturday for the October 24th primary, and with booths closed Sunday, Secretary of State Tom Schedler says as of the close of business on Monday just over 60-thousand ballots were cast, with more women have voted than men. Still, He predicts overall turnout for the election will be below 50-percent.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has approved the adoption of scoring levels which align with other states on the Common Core testing. Cut Scores determine a student’s skill level on the test as mastery, advanced, basic, approaching basic or unsatisfactory. State Superintendent of Education John White says cut scores allow them to release reports to schools and parents after announcing Monday Common Core test results that show just 22-40 percent of Louisiana students have “mastered” a certain skill they say is needed to move on to the next level.
Louisiana ranks number 47th in the country for financial wellbeing according to a report by Gallup-Healthways. The report also found Louisiana comes in at number 48th in the nation for residents having enough money for food and 49th for the ability for people to pay for health care.
The Red Cross of Louisiana announces fans donated more than $40,000 for South Carolina relief efforts at the LSU game this past Saturday at Tiger Stadium. They say Tiger fans welcomed the displaced Gamecocks to Baton Rouge with open arms and were ready with their wallets, checks and stories to share. The Red Cross says the money in the donation canisters outside of the stadium will provide badly needed supplies to South Carolina residents recovering from flooding.
Members of Governor Bobby Jindal’s presidential campaign are looking to change the current debate criteria so Jindal will be included in the next Republican presidential debate on October 28th. The campaign argues that basing criteria on national polls is meaningless at this point in the race. Current Republican National Committee criteria requires a candidate average at least 2.5-percent in six different national polls to make a debate. Jindal Pollster Wes Anderson says the governor’s recent surge to six-percent support in Iowa should put him in the main debate.
According to the Associated Press, the cost of Governor Bobby Jindal’s security detail has more than doubled to over $3.1 million a year since he took office in 2008. State Police says the price increase for protective services for the governor isn’t chiefly driven by Jindal’s frequent travel. They say a sizable pay raise for state troopers accounted for much of an $830,000 increase in salary and benefits for the protective detail over the last year alone.
Republican David Vitter released a new statewide television ad today which features his wife Wendy talking about why her husband would be the best choice for governor of Louisiana. In the commercial, Wendy Vitter says she knows David Vitter better than anyone and he has the courage to stand up to Baton Rouge politicians.
The Baton Rouge Police Department arrests a 17-year-old on charges of negligent homicide for allegedly shooting and killing his 15-year-old best friend by mistake. They say cops responded to a report of a shooting around 3:30 am and learned that Kevin Aguillard and the victim were playing with a gun when it discharged. 15-year-old Brian Banks was struck in the face and died at a local hospital.
The Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office says a year-long undercover drug operation nets 54 suspected criminals, and 8 suspects remaining at large. They say “Operation Who’s Next” is one of the largest undercover operations in the history of the department. Sheriff Lonnie Greco says they were able to seize massive amounts of heroin, prescription drugs, crack cocaine, meth and much more.
The state Department of Health and Hospital announces a new online platform is now available to Louisiana residents with information about how to use health information. DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert says makemyhealth-dot-me shows people how to request copies of their medical records and then how to use them. The campaign is called “Your Health in Your Hands.”
The Humane Society is asking for donations to help take care of the more than 40 animals who were living in filthy conditions at a home in Washington Parish. A mother and daughter face numerous counts of animal cruelty charges. All of the animals, 20 dogs, 20 cats a duck and a rabbit, are in dire need of veterinary care.
News for Tuesday 101315
By Dave Graichen
England Authority officials are seeking to have Free Trade Zone status expanded to all of Rapides, Avoyelles and Grant parishes. That could benefit companies that do business internationally, including Revolution Aluminum LLC, which will locate a $2.4 billion aluminum alloy plant at the former International Paper site near Pineville. Jon Grafton, executive director of the England Authority, has asked the Rapides Parish Police Jury to endorse the expansion of Free Trade Zone No. 261 to all three parishes. Approval will also be sought from the police juries in Avoyelles and Grant parishes. The full story in today’s Towntalk.
The State Department of Education has released the Common Core test results from the spring and Superintendent John White says the results are not surprising. The numbers indicate just 22-40 percent of Louisiana students show “mastery” in skills it says are needed.
He says detailed information from the tests will be released in November. BESE will vote today on whether or not Louisiana will adopt the same skill scoring levels as other states, called cut scores.
Legendary Chef Paul Prudhomme was laid to rest Monday in New Orleans. Members of the restaurant business, family and friends all got together at St. Louis Cathedral Monday for the funeral. After the mass, a procession and second line marched from Jackson Square to Prudhomme’s K-Paul’s restaurant. Grave side services were closed to the public.
According to a recent survey, less than half, or to be exact 31%, of African American voters in Louisiana were in favor of removing Confederate monuments. The Clarus Research Group poll was conducted for news organizations. Pollster Ron Faucheux says he expected a larger number of black voters to be in favor of taking the statues down. A sad note to the report, he says voters are more certain about the Confederate monuments issue than they are about the governor’s race.
The Times-Picayune and NOLA.dot com endores Republican David Vitter for governor. NOLA’s editorial staff says Vitter is committed, a resolute chief executive that has a desire to govern and lead on many fronts. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says this is a big deal for Vitter’s campaign, who is facing attacks from the three other candidates and supporting groups. Pinsonat says newspaper endorsements don’t guarantee victory on election day, but it’s definitely a boost.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office says they are investigating the case of a burned vehicle which was discovered in the woods that had human remains inside. Positive identification of the person is pending DNA analysis. The vehicle was badly burned, but cops were able to determine it was a silver Mitsubishi. No arrests have been made in connection with this incident at this time.
With this fall Louisiana air comes the pollen and allergies. LSU Health Sciences Center Professor, Dr. Sanjay Kamboj (KAM-boje), says they are seeing an increase in the number of patients coming in for allergy related illnesses. He says warm temperatures and high humidity levels help increase pollen production.
State Police has issued an update in the case of the missing 6-year-old AMBER Alert Texas child who could be in Louisiana. The little girl, Lexi Johnson, and her alleged abductor, 40-year-old Harvey York Jr of Zwolle, Louisiana, were last seen on Sunday in Houston, Texas. Investigators say the vehicle used by York to drive to Louisiana was located in Sabine Parish. York and the abducted child have NOT been found.
The community in Ascension Parish remains in shock today over the stabbing death of an 18-year-old senior from St. Amant High School, allegedly at the hands of a 16-year-old from Baton Rouge. They say Todd Toups Jr. was visiting a friend in Gonzales, whom he planned to take to the homecoming dance Saturday night, when an argument ensued between he a juvenile male suspect which led to the stabbing. Toups later succumbed to his injuries and the 16-year-old is charged with second degree murder.
State Police is investigating an officer involved shooting in Lake Charles which claimed the life of a male suspect. Sgt. James Anderson says the Lake Charles Police Department responded to a domestic disturbance at a residence early Sunday morning. Anderson says officers saw the suspect, 44-year-old Kevin Lau, standing in the doorway of the house with a gun. Anderson says officers fatally shot Lau after repeatedly asking the man to drop his weapon and after he pointed it at the cops.
The US Supreme Court will hear arguments today from the lawyers of an Angola inmate who is serving a life sentence for murdering a sheriff’s deputy as a teenager in 1963. In 2012, the US Supreme Court banned automatic life sentences for teens. Legal analyst Tim Meche says Louisiana prisoner Henry Montgomery wants the Supreme Court to make that ruling retroactive, so he has a chance at parole. When Montgomery was 17-years-old, he shot Deputy Charles Hurt to death while playing hooky from school.
The four candidates running for Lt. Governor discussed how they would improve the film industry in the state at a forum hosted by the Baton Rouge Press Club. Republican Billy Nungesser says when many people see movies filmed in Louisiana, they’re drawn to visit so we need to make changes to the current film tax credit incentive program to keep filmmakers coming to the state. Republican John Young says before this most recent legislative session, Louisiana was number one in the world for film production. Democrat Kip Holden says it’s time to close the loopholes in the film tax credit incentive program that could lead to fraud and wasteful spending. Republican Elbert Guillory says we shot ourselves in the foot when we made the changes to the film tax credits and we need to cap each movie rather than capping the entire industry
The UL-Lafayette football program is being accused of a major rules violation by the NCAA. The allegations are connected to an academic eligibility issue regarding the ACT scores of several recruits over the past few years. The alleged wrongdoing seems to be centered around former assistant coach David Saunders. UL Lafayette has decided to vacate its victories from the 2011 season.
As LSU prepares to take on fellow top 10 holder Florida on Saturday in Tiger Stadium, we learned today that starting Gator QB Will Grier has been suspended indefinitely. Apparently he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance found in an over the counter supplement he got at GNC. The news comes ahead of a highly anticipated top 10 match-up between NO. 6 LSU and NO. 8 Florida.
The game this Saturday night in Tiger Stadium between No. 6 LSU and No. 8 Florida is one of the most anticipated matchups of the week. Cameron Papp with StubHub says this is the best selling LSU game of the season on their online ticket marketplace. The game in Death Valley kicks off at 6pm and will be televised on ESPN.
News for Monday 101215
By Dave Graichen
Early voting for the state ‘s Oct. 24 election is under way. Candidates are urging supporters to cast their ballots in advance as the various statewide and local races are expected to compete for attention on Election Day with college football games and hunting plans. Early voting runs through this Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m Just a reminder, You go can visit geauxvote.com to get a sample ballot.
State Treasurer John Kennedy says state revenues for the first quarter of this fiscal year are down 13-percent compared to the first quarter of last year. Kennedy says tax collections from individuals and businesses are down, while sales tax receipts are flat. Kennedy says the national economy and the fact that the legislature raised taxes 800 million dollars last spring are some other factors in play with Louisiana’s declining revenue. He says you can’t raise taxes without having economic implications and the state is still spending more money than we take in.
Louisianians that don’t have a passport won’t be turned away from federal buildings Monday or stopped from boarding a plane next year after the US Department of Homeland Security granted the state another extension from being in compliance with the REAL ID law. State Police Col Mike Edmonson says this gives the Legislature time to address the issue next year.
Voters in Louisiana will have the opportunity to vote on some Constitutional amendments on the October 24th ballot. Robert Scott, President of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, says the ballot will feature four new amendments to the Louisiana Constitution. Scott says if you know nothing about these amendments, it could be overwhelming. You can find a guide to all four amendments at parlouisiana-dot-org. Scott encourages voters to do a little research on these amendments before entering the voting booth.
The four candidates for Lt. Governor are slated to be at a forum hosted by the Baton Rouge Press Club today. Political Analyst Clancy Dubos says it’s a very close race between the Democrat Kip Holden and Republicans John Young and Billy Nungesser, because they have the most money and name recognition. Dubos says the odds favor the only democratic candidate, Kip Holden, entering the runoff.
A new study by the Violence policy center lists Louisiana fourth in the country for rate of women murdered by men. The study, titled "When Men Murder Women," pulls data from the 2013 FBI Uniform Crime Reports, FBI Supplementary Homicide Reports and U.S. Census data. Louisiana has ranked in the top 10 states for women murdered by men five years in a row, the study says. South Carolina was ranked number one in this year's study, followed by Alaska and New Mexico.
The Louisiana Supreme Court has again refused to hear a request to overturn Brandon Lavergne’s guilty pleas to two murders, including that of 21-year-old university student Mickey Shunick. Lavergne’s case was among four requests for reconsideration rejected Friday without comment.
Ads are out targeting Democratic Gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards seeking to tie him to President Barack Obama. They are funded by over $1 million from the Republican Governors Association. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says tying Democratic candidates to the president has worked for Republicans and Edwards will likely fight the ads by focusing on his own agenda in Louisiana. In a statement, Edwards says the ads are a distraction from the one candidate who will undo Governor Jindal’s failed policies.
David La Certe has resigned as secretary for the state Department of Veterans Affairs. La Certe did not provide a reason and neither did the governor’s office, who named Thomas Enright as interim secretary. But Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera says his office is investigating the department and its handling of the state’s five nursing homes for vets and uncovered problems. Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street also says they are investigating the state Department of Veterans Affairs, but would not go into any more details.
Less than half the cases of the West Nile virus have been reported this year compared to 2014 according to the Department of Health and Hospitals. They say there have been 55 confirmed cases and 4 deaths. DHH attributes the drop to Louisiana’s cool spring.
After a lengthy investigation, authorities in St. Martin Parish have busted a cockfighting ring in Breaux Bridge. Major Ginny Higgins says two men have been charged with 24 counts of Cruelty to Animals and 24 counts of Cockfighting. And yet another man with 48 counts of Cruelty to Animals and 48 counts of Cockfighting.
The Student Senate at LSU has passed a resolution asking Facility Services to change the signs on single stall restrooms on campus to read “gender neutral.” Matthew Patterson, with Equality Louisiana, says this is a cost effective way of ensuring that all students, faculty and staff feel safe when using the restroom. Patterson says this doesn’t mean transgender people are trying to make a statement, they are just trying to use the bathroom.
LSU finally found its passing game in a 45-24 victory over South Carolina on Saturday. Quarterback Brandon Harris threw for a career-high 227 yards and two touchdowns. And the Tigers rushed for an impressive 396 yards. LSU running back Leonard Fournette rushed for 158 yards and a touchdown and became the fastest Tiger to reach 1,000 yards rushing in a season.
The Saints are now 1-and-4 on the season after a dismal performance in Philadelphia. The Eagles scored 29 second half points to beat New Orleans 39-17. The Saints turned it over four times, quarterback Drew Brees was sacked five times and New Orleans only ran the ball for 96 yards, while the defense gave up over 500 yards of total offense. The Saints were also penalized seven times for 78 yards.
News for Friday 100915
By Dave Graichen
Louisiana lost a state treasure Thursday as internationally known chef Paul Prudhomme passed away at the age of 75. Wendy Waren of the Louisiana Restaurant Association says this is a tremendous loss for their industry. Prudhomme was born in Opelousas. The youngest of 13 children, his rise to culinary stardom started in 1975 when he became head chef at Commander’s Palace. In the early 1980s he opened his own restaurant in the quarter, K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen. Paul Prudhomme will always be known as the man who brought Louisiana cooking to the rest of the world.
Early voting for the October 24th Election begins Tomorrow and runs through October 17th, excluding Sunday. Early voting will be available from 8:30AM to 6PM daily at registrar of voters offices across the state and other select locations. You can go online to geauxvote-dot-com to find out where to vote and what’s exactly on your ballot.
State Police say three people were killed in Terrebonne Parish yesterday as a result of a natural gas explosion and fire at Williams Partners’ natural gas facility in Gibson. A cause of the explosion is not known. Company officials say the workers were performing maintenance on the facility which was not operational at the time of the explosion.
A big surprise yesterday as Gov. Bobby Jindal’s veterans affairs secretary abruptly resigned. Without explanation, Jindal’s office announced Thursday that David LaCerte had left the position he’s held since June 2014, effective immediately. Robin Keller, a spokeswoman for the Department of Veterans Affairs, confirmed that the agency has been contacted by the inspector general’s office. She said she doesn’t know what is being investigated. The governor has named his office’s chief lawyer, Thomas Enright, to work as interim secretary.
Louisiana Republicans expressed disappointment Thursday that Rep. Steve Scalise won’t have a chance to become House majority leader now that Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California has decided to remain in the post. Scalise, the House majority whip, had hoped to replace McCarthy, who had been favored to win his bid for speaker.
State Police say a 5-year-old was struck and killed by a passing vehicle on LA 83 in St. Mary Parish last night. Master Trooper Brooks David says the child was outside chasing his dog. The child died at a hospital. David says the driver of the vehicle was unable to avoid hitting the child and was not cited.
State Police announces they will use the Louisiana Department of Transportation’s website, twitter accounts, and smart phone app to relay information about traffic crashes, congestion and roadway construction. Trooper Dustin Dwight says the State Police and DOTD are teaming up to give drivers a more unified message about what’s going on in your specific region. He says drivers can see real time traffic updates on the “Way to Geaux” app, which is available in the iTunes App store and Google Play.
SEC officials say the game between South Carolina and LSU at 2:30 on Saturday in Tiger Stadium will be televised on ESPN. Reports indicate the network had to move around at least 5 other games to make this happen. The contest was moved to Baton Rouge due to historic flooding and devastation response in Columbia. LSU says minus expenses for hosting the game, all ticket sales will be transferred to South Carolina as it is the Gamecocks’ home game.
The Saints will visit Philadelphia on Sunday to take on the Eagles. Both teams are 1-and-3 and who ever losses this game, will likely not make the playoffs. New Orleans running back CJ Spiller is expecting an intense battle. Saints Coach Sean Payton says Philadelphia’s up tempo offense makes it difficult to substitute, so that’s a concern going into this game.
News for Thursday 100815
By Dave Graichen
LSU fans are getting ready to tailgate at Tiger Stadium this Saturday. That’s because the Fighting Tigers will host South Carolina in an SEC match-up after it was determined the South Carolina floods were too severe to hold the game in Columbia. South Carolina is expected to fly into Baton Rouge on Friday for the game in Tiger Stadium. Kick-off is at 2:30.
LSU football season ticket holders have until 5 PM Tthis afternoon to purchase tickets for Saturday’s game against South Carolina in Tiger Stadium. At six PM, tickets will be available to the general public.
With the unexpected change of venue to Baton Rouge for the LSU-South Carolina game the Capital City is expecting a bump in tourism. Just one problem, Baton Rouge is already hosting a soccer tournament, a major business conference and a beer festival this weekend. Tourism officials say, there should be hotel rooms available.
Funeral arrangements are still pending for a Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office deputy who died in a two vehicle crash, while off duty, Tuesday night. 32 year old Tony Verheyden was killed when his pickup truck collided with a car, on La. Highway 115. The 16 driver of the car failed to stop at a stop sign. Verheyden, who was not wearing his seatbelt, was ejected from his vehicle. Sheriff Hilton says Verheyden served with the RPSO since January 2013. He leaves behind a wife and two children.
Early voting for the Oct. 24 begins Saturday. In addition to seven statewide offices, including governor, voters will decide on four proposed constitutional amendments, legislative and other district races, and local elections. Early voting will take place in parish registrars of voters’ offices from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday through Saturday, Oct. 10-17, with the except for Sunday.
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says they are sending emergency management personnel to South Carolina to work with officials there in making damage assessments. GOHSEP says their employees have the experience needed when it comes to disasters like this and they stand ready to help whenever needed.
Gannett, the publishing company that owns The Town Talk, USA TODAY and media businesses in 91 other local markets, said late Wednesday that it has agreed to buy Journal Media Group for about $280 million, following through on its strategy of acquiring additional local news outlets after it was spun off from its former parent in June. Journal Media Group owns more than 12 daily newspapers, 18 weeklies and their affiliated websites in 14 local markets in the U.S. Shares of Gannett closed yesterday up almost 4 percent.
The newest campaign ad from Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards spotlights his anti-abortion position. In the commercial, Edwards’ wife Donna tells of how the couple decided to carry their first child to term after being advised by a doctor to abort the pregnancy. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says Edwards is sending a strong message. The commercial indicates their daughter is now 20 years old and is getting married next spring.
The LSU faculty senate has censure president F King Alexander over the firing of a tenured professor, who was dismissed in June after allegations surfaced she used profanity and sexual content in the classroom. LSU Faculy Senate President Kevin Cope says the censure is a signal from the academic community that Alexander isn’t providing good leadership. Alexander says LSU supports tenure but action must be taken to prevent damaging and counterproductive classroom environments.
The state department of corrections says the that prisoner who was accidentally released from prison is back in Louisiana. Spokesperson Pam LaBorde says 32-year-old Benjuiel Johnson is at Angola. Johnson, who was convicted on manslaughter, was released as a result of an error by department of corrections worker. Johnson was found last Friday at a motel in an Atlanta suburb.
News for Wednesday 100715
By Dave Graichen
The Louisiana National Guard will be conducting an active shooter, anti-terrorism exercise at Camp Beauregard today. Multiple agencies are joining in the exercise, including Louisiana State Police, Rapides Sheriff’s Office, Pineville Police Department, and Acadian Ambulance. The annual exercise is designed to help deter terrorist incidents, employ countermeasures and mitigate the effects of a terrorist incident.
The Louisiana Congressional Delegation has sent a letter to the US Department of Homeland Security asking for a delay in the state’s compliance to the REAL ID act. Louisiana is one of four states who are not in compliance with the new federal identification standards. Without a REAL ID, Louisiana residents would need a second form of identification, such as a US Passport, to enter federal buildings or pass through airport security. The state legislature passed a bill in 2014 allowing REAL IDs to be issued in Louisiana, but it was vetoed by Governor Jindal.
In a blog on his presidential campaign website, Governor Bobby Jindal says the father of the shooter that killed nine people at an Oregon community college owes us an apology. Jindal says the gunman’s dad is calling for gun control, but Jindal criticizes Ian Mercer for not being more involved in his son’s life.
More than 35,000 of Louisiana's rank-and-file classified employees received their favorable evaluations, but they're not getting their pay raises. Officials at most state government agencies say they don't have the money and would have to lay off employees to grant the 4 percent salary increases. The pay bumps were scheduled to take place Oct. 1, but a majority of the executive branch agencies, along with most colleges and universities, sought and received state Civil Service permission to withhold the extra money.
Officials at the University of South Carolina say it’s possible that the LSU/USC game will not be played in Columbia this weekend and a move to Baton Rouge is not out of the question. The area has been dealing with catastrophic flooding. LSU Sports Information director Michael Bonnette says they are in a wait and see mode.
The state Department of Transportation begins taking public input today on the proposed I-49 Lafayette Connector project. The proposed 5.5 mile stretch of highway would start at I-10 and run through Lafayette. This is a critical piece of roadway needed to connect I-49 to New Orleans. DOTD spokesperson Diedra Druilhet says this is part of their $3 billion “Geaux South” program which will convert approximately 160 miles of the US 90 corridor to I-49 South. The connector would run through downtown Lafayette and continue to Lafayette Regional Airport at a cost of $850 million to construct..
The Attorney General’s Office says a third person has been arrested in connection with a Louisiana based national financial fraud scheme which resulted in the theft of more than $5 million dollars. They say 26-year-old Jessica Clements Batiste faces racketeering charges for her role in helping her then husband carry out the credit repair scam that defrauded hundreds of individuals and banks.
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office has arrested the Principal and a coach at Beau Chene High School following a disciplinary incident involving a juvenile student. Lt. Clay Higgins says
Principal Anthony James is charged with simple battery and basketball coach Lorenso Williams is charged with cruelty to a juvenile. Higgins says the two men maintain they were attempting discipline and control of the student, but the student had a different story. He says the investigation found probable cause existed for arrest and the two men turned themselves in willingly. They have since been released. Higgins says this is now a matter for the courts to decide.
Louisiana’s very own Bayou Rum is now partnering with the New York-based Stoli Group to nationally distribute their liquor made from sugarcane. Co-founder and President of Louisiana Spirits, the producer of Bayou Rum, Trey Litel says this is really big for their company based in Lacassine because the partnership will help the company expand throughout the country and eventually internationally. The partnership with Stoli Group will begin in January of next year.
McDonald’s is now selling breakfast items 24 hours a day. Officials with the fast-food chain say they came to this decision after listening to customer requests. LSU Marketing Professor Dan Rice says they’re hoping to bring in customers who normally don’t eat lunch or dinner at McDonalds. Rice says the downside, people who usually buy burgers and more expensive items, might be tempted to purchase cheaper breakfast foods.
ULM football team will attend the memorial service this morning of quarterback Daniel Fitzwater who died on Saturday at the age of 20. Warhawks Football Coach Todd Berry says Fitzwater was a great young man and teammate. Berry says an autopsy later this week will determine Fitzwater’s death. He says at this point it appears to be natural causes.
News for Tuesday 100615
By Dave Graichen
The Pineville Police Department is reporting a severely autistic boy who was reported missing yesterday from Pinecrest, has been found safe and sound. The Louisiana State Police had issued a Level II Endangered/Missing Child Media Advisory for the missing child. But, again the good news, the child has been found and he’s fine.
A Louisiana company announces plans to build an 11 billion dollar facility along the Calcasieu River ship channel to export liquefied natural gas. Baton Rouge based G2 LNG is the name of the company and the chairman is Former Governor Buddy Roemer. Federal agencies must approve the project before they can put shovels in the ground, but the company says the facility is expected to create thousands of construction jobs and more than 250 permanent jobs.
A barge manufacturer says it will close a facility near Madison in St. Tammany Parish and lay off 336 workers. Trinity Marine Products Inc. announced the layoffs on Monday in a notice to the Louisiana Workforce Commission. The company says the layoffs will take place by the end of the year.
A new statewide poll on Louisiana’s governor’s race shows Democrat John Bel Edwards has jumped out to a 9-point lead over Republican David Vitter. Pollster John Couvillion with JMC Analytics found Edwards had 28 percent and Vitter had 19 percent. Republicans Scott Angelle and Jay Dardenne polled at 8-percent and 7-percent respectively. Couvillon says it’s probably time for them to shift their focus from Vitter to Edwards.
A new NBC/Marist poll on the presidential race in Iowa shows Governor Bobby Jindal now has 6-percent of the vote. That’s a two-percent increase from their previous poll. Jindal’s 6-percent has him tied for fifth place, along with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, among Republican presidential hopefuls. Donald Trump leads the poll with 24-percent, followed by Ben Carson with 19-percent.
The terms of Louisiana’s settlement with BP for $6.8 billion dollars over the 2010 Gulf Oil spill were finalized Monday. This clears the way for the state to begin receiving billions of dollars for coastal restoration and economic recovery. Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says laws need to be changed so that similar situations in settlements of this magnitude don’t take so long.
ULM is grieving today over the loss of backup quarterback Daniel Fitzwater who passed away suddenly on Saturday. Warhawk Coach Todd Berry says he had to tell the players about the passing of their 20-year-old fellow teammate three hours before the homecoming game. He said they didn’t have all the details about Fitzwater’s death but it didn’t appear to be self-inflicted and foul play is not suspected.
In the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday, the lawyers of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin went before a three judge panel to argue that the jury that convicted their client on corruption charges was given improper instructions. There is no indication of when the court will rule on whether or not to appeal the corruption convictions. Nagin, who has always maintained his innocence, is serving 10 years in federal prison.
Minden Congressman John Fleming announces his support for Metairie Representative Steve Scalise to become the House Majority Leader. LaPolitics-dot-com Publisher Jeremy Alford says there were questions whether Fleming would support Scalise’s bid to move up in the House leadership. Scalise, the current House Majority Whip, looks to move into the number two leadership position in the US House.
Louisiana volunteers are joining the Red Cross response in South Carolina as the state deals with severe flooding. Spokeswoman Nancy Malone says they’ll be helping families stay safe and dry by opening shelters and bringing in meals…
The Thibodaux Police Department says a toddler and 17 dogs were removed from a home that was in deplorable conditions. Five people, ranging in age from 17 to 70, were arrested after officers made the discovery on various charges of animal cruelty counts and child desertion. Officers say the child and dogs were found among urine, feces, mold and rotten food throughout the home.
LSU’s passing game took a step backwards in its progression during the Tigers 44-22 win over Eastern Michigan. The Tigers only completed four passes for 80 yards. The Tigers are ranked 124th in the nation in passing, one of just five teams in the country averaging less than 100 passing yards a game. Good news is The Tigers are 4-0 and ranked fifth in the latest coaches poll. But Miles says there’s room for improvement as his team heads back into SEC play this Saturday.
News for Monday 100515
By Dave Graichen
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s appeal to his conviction on fraud charges is heard in a federal courtroom in New Orleans today. Nagin was convicted on 20 counts last year and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. Loyola Law Professor Dane Ciolino says Nagin is arguing that the jury was incorrectly instructed on laws regarding honest services fraud. He says Nagin’s appeal only covers nine of his 20 convictions.
In a recent poll ranking Louisiana’s six most recent governors, former four-term Governor Edwin Edwards came in at number one among respondents. 31-percent thought “The Cajun Prince” was the best governor, followed by former two-term Governor Mike Foster with 21-percent. Current Governor Bobby Jindal ranked third with 14-percent. But when asked who was the worst governor, 42-percent of respondents picked Jindal.
The public is about to get a look at details of an $18 billion settlement agreement announced in July to resolve years of legal fighting over damage caused by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill.
A statement from the U.S. Justice Department says the agreement involving the federal government, five Gulf states and BP Exploration and Production will be filed today. That will be followed by a 60-day public comment period, the next step toward final court approval.
The settlement would end battles over economic and environmental damage caused by the nearly 134-million-gallon (507-million-liter) spill.
New changes are in place for the Powerball multi-state lottery game which will make it more difficult for players to win the grand prize, but more money could be won in other ways. Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kim Chopin says the matrix changes will increase the odds of winning the jackpot from 1 in 175 million to 1 and 292 million. Chopin says for players who add the one-dollar power play option, they can now multiply their nonjackpot prize up to ten times.
About 280-thousand dollars has been raised for the 11 victims and the families of the two women killed in July’s Lafayette theater shooting. CEO of Pixus Digital Printing Todd Landry says the company raised the majority of the money by selling signs, t-shirts, car deals. He says he never dreamed they’d have this kind of impact. Landry says even though it’s been a little over two months since the tragedy, they’re still receiving orders.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office reports that an 84-year-old man appears to have drowned near Black Bayou. They believe Sheffield Royer was cast-netting alone when he went into the water. His family began a search when Royer failed to return home. Deputies later found Royer unresponsive in the water. Authorities believe the drowning to be accidental, but the investigation will continue pending the coroner’s examination.
The convicted killer who was accidentally released for prison on September 22 in East Feliciana Parish has been captured in Atlanta. Middle District of Louisiana US Marshal Kevin Harrison says they talked with Marshals in Georgia after getting a tip that 32-year-old Benjuiel Johnson was staying in a Motel 6 outside of Atlanta. He says developed leads after talking to people in Johnson’s hometown in Iberville Parish and determined he had connections in Georgia.
The Department of Children and Family Services announces changes coming to child support direct payment card clients when it comes to paying and receiving money. D-C-F-S Secretary Suzy Sonnier says Louisiana is in the process of moving towards a new stored value card for child support clients. She says this means all clients using the card need to update their address as soon as possible. Sonnier is strongly encouraging her child support clients to start using direct deposit.
Saints Quarterback Drew Brees connected with CJ Spiller on an 80-yard touchdown pass on the second play from scrimmage in overtime to give New Orleans a 26-20 win over the banged up Dallas Cowboys. It was Brees 400th career touchdown pass and it gave New Orleans its first win of the season.
It wasn’t the blowout people were expecting on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium. LSU only led by six points halftime and eventually defeated Eastern Michigan 44-22.
For the second straight year, Louisiana Tech easily defeated UL Lafayette. The Bulldogs scored 22 points in the 2nd quarter and went on to win 43-13.
News for Friday 100215
By Dave Graichen
A two vehicle crash yesterday afternoon in Concordia Parish claimed the lives of three people. Two of whom were teenagers from Vidalia. Troopers say the driver of a loaded logging truck, 28 year old Mark Gordon of Jonesville, lost control, crossed the center line and hit a pickup killing three of it’s four passengers. 49 year old Richard Stewart, 17 year old Vera and 15 year old George Stewart. Troopers say none of three were wearing seatbelts. The lone survivor, 51 Year old Sheila Smith, who was wearing a seatbelt, received moderate injuries and was transported to a local hospital. The driver of the logging truck was not injured.
The APD reports a woman was killed late Wednesday night when she was struck by a vehicle. An investigation found that a vehicle traveling south on MacArthur Drive had exited onto Coliseum Boulevard and hit the woman as she tried to cross that exit lane. No charges have been filed against the driver of the vehicle. The name of the woman has been withheld pending notification of family members.
In last night’s gubernatorial debate hosted by WDSU-TV in New Orleans, each of the four major candidates took shots at each other on a couple of different subjects. On the topic of defunding Planned Parenthood, Republican David Vitter criticized both Democrat John Bel Edwards and fellow Republican Jay Dardenne. In reference to Edwards, Vitter equates his support of President Obama to support for Planned Parenthood. Vitter supports defunding the organization. Edwards says while he supports the Commander in Chief, he does have issues with many positions taken by the President. On the same topic, Vitter called out Dardenne claiming that the Lt. Governor voted in favor of abortion six times. In response, Dardenne called Vitter a liar. On the topic of Common Core, Republican Scott Angelle took the opportunity slam Vitter’s inconsistency on the issue.
A recent poll of Louisiana voters on the presidential race shows Governor Bobby Jindal receiving only three-percent support from state Republicans. The poll, conducted by Clarus Research, shows Ben Carson leading the Republican field with 23-percent.
State Treasurer John Kennedy announces that audits of life insurance company policies have found $35 million that should have been paid to Louisiana residents. Kennedy says when a life insurance company learns of a policy holders death, they should actively seek out the beneficiaries and heirs of that person. Kennedy says, so far this year, claimants have received $2.6 million from these life insurance policy audits.
Investigators have discovered that the Eunice mother who shot her two children then took her own life, while also setting her home on fire, purchased a hand gun nine days before the double murder suicide. Deputy Chief with the state Fire Marshal’s Office Brant Thompson says the mother, 39-year-old Carla Watford, carefully planned out this murder and legally purchased the .38-caliber hand gun along with 50 rounds of ammunition.
This September will go down as one of the driest for north Louisiana, according to records from the National Weather Service. Senior Meteorologist Jason Hansford says Shreveport Regional Airport recorded only 0.07 inches of rain during the entire month, which just surpassed the previous record set in 1994. Hansford says the drought has caused burn bans to be put in place for almost every parish in north Louisiana.
A well known Louisiana tradition kicks off this weekend as the 2015 Angola Prison Rodeo gets underway. The annual event runs every Sunday in October at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Warden Burl Cain says this is an event the entire family can enjoy. He says, in addition to the rodeo, there are arts and crafts, food, and events the kids will enjoy. Tickets are just $15 each and can be purchased online at angolarodeo-dot-com. The event draws more than 70,000 spectators to the prison annually.
Analysts have been telling us that gas prices would drop during the fall, but according to the American Automobile Association the statewide average price for a regular gallon of gasoline has gone up a few pennies over the week to $2.03. Triple-A Fuel Analyst Don Redman says prices are leveling off now that refineries are transitioning into the winter blend of gasoline. Redman still predicts gas prices to drop to about $1.80 per gallon in December.
The Department of Children and Family Services announces changes to the food assistance program to encourage able-bodied recipients without children to move into the workforce. Secretary Suzy Sonnier says now, able-bodied adults without dependents must work at least 20 hours a week or be enrolled in a federally-approved job training program to qualify for SNAP benefits. She says there are approximately 62,000 able-bodied SNAP recipients in the state with no dependents.
A man who owns a movie making business in Mandeville is sentenced to six months in jail for cheating the state’s film tax credit program. 38-year-old Daniel Garcia pleaded guilty in 2013 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Authorities caught Garcia writing $3 million dollars in canceled checks to create fraudulent documents indicating the money was for a movie, so that he could collect $900,000 in film tax credits.
A grand jury has indicted a Lafayette woman on a second degree murder charge in the death of her newborn baby whose body was discovered 14 years later in a storage unit. 57-year-old Rebecca Landry was arrested in June after a renter discovered the corpse after the storage unit was auctioned off. Authorities say Landry claims she was suffering from alcoholism when she gave birth to the baby in secret. When the child died a few days later, she hid the body. If convicted, Landry faces a mandatory life sentence.
The Saints are 0-3 heading into Sunday night’s game with Dallas. But Coach Sean Payton says no one has their head down or is feeling sorry for themselves. The Saints seem optimistic that Quarterback Drew Brees will return to the field this Sunday after missing last week’s loss to Carolina. Payton says Brees and the rest of the team are working hard and hopefully it results in a win against the Cowboys.
The LSU Tigers are big favorites to beat Eastern Michigan on Saturday night. Coach Les Miles says he wants to see a penalty free game after his team was flagged 14 times last weekend.
News for Thursday 100115
By Dave Graichen
The four major gubernatorial candidates for governor are slated to appear tonight at 6 in a televised debate hosted by W-D-S-U T-V in New Orleans. It will also air online and on N-B-C affiliated stations across the state. L-S-U Political Science Professor Robert Hogan says this is the chance for Republican candidates Scott Angelle and Jay Dardenne to gain some traction against frontrunner David Vitter. This is the only televised debate before the October 24th primary that the four major candidates have committed to attend.
Get ready for some beautiful weather Louisiana as another cold front settles over the state over the next several days. State Climatologist Barry Keim says today is just the beginning with slightly cooler and less humid conditions. By tomorrow morning, the minimum temperatures are going to be in the 50s, with high temperatures only in the 70s. Keim says this weather pattern is going to persist through the weekend and perhaps even into early next week.
A Ball woman is facing multiple charges of forgery and bank fraud in connection to checks police say were stolen from her grandfather. Catherine Renee Durand, of the 6000 block of Monroe Highway, was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on Tuesday. She was charged with nine counts of forgery and nine counts of bank fraud.
There has been a second death this year from the West Nile virus according to DHH and there are now 54 total reported cases. State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says the latest death is out of the Baton Rouge area. He says about 90 percent of the cases they see are asymptomatic, but about 10 percent will develop West Nile Fever. He says even though it’s starting to cool off, mosquitoes remain active through the end of the year in Louisiana and it’s important to protect yourself.
The Louisiana Chapter of the Americans for Prosperity is out with an ad letting voters know which of their lawmakers up for re-election in the fall voted for tax increases and Medicaid expansion. A-F-P State Director Phillip Joffrion says the radio spot includes information about how legislators dealt with the state’s fiscal crisis in the last session. He says the public can view their lawmaker’s record at Louisiana Score Card-dot-com. Louisiana AFP has ties to the Tea Party.
There is now a $6,000 reward being offered for information which leads to the arrest of the convicted killer who was released from prison by mistake in East Feliciana Parish. 32-year-old Benjueil Johnson is a black male, about 5’10 and 190 pounds and he lived in Plaquemine prior to incarceration. A human error allowed Johnson to bond out. If you see him please call 911.
New Orleans Police are investigating an armed robbery that happened Wednesday morning at a school in Treme. They say a teacher was walking into the Success Preparatory Academy around 7am while no children were at the school, when she was approached by a suspect with a gun who robbed her. Police say it also happened to another teacher. The gunman remains at large.
The Monroe Police Department says they are still looking for a suspect in the case of two people who were found shot dead at a bail bondsman’s office. They’ve identified the victims as Ivan Webb, who owns the business, and Catrina Wallace who worked there. Cops say no arrests have been made at this time but the investigation is ongoing.
A study shows more Louisiana drivers are buckling up this year. Louisiana Highway Safety Commission Executive Director Col. John LeBlanc says their 2015 Louisiana Seat Belt and Motorcycle Helmet Observation Survey found a record 86 percent of front seat passengers and drivers we’re using their seatbelt. LeBlanc says they’re still trying to get more young male drivers to buckle up. And he says front seat seatbelt use among African Americans measured lower than other races. LeBlanc says 58 percent of drivers killed in Louisiana are not buckled up.
Saints Quarterback Drew Brees says he feels good about playing against the Dallas Cowboys.
Brees says he took most of the reps at practice yesterday and he’ll continue to ramp up the volume leading up to the primetime game against the Cowboys.
A debate has started over whether star LSU sophomore running back Leonard Fournette should sit out his junior season so he doesn’t risk injury before heading to the NFL. The Heisman Trophy candidate is not eligible for the draft until after next season. Fournette weighed in on the topic by tweeting, “I will never jump ship.”
Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame announces its 2016 induction class and once again it’s a star studded group of athletes and coaches. Janice Joseph-Richard, who led Louisiana College to national prominence in women's basketball as both a player and a coach will be remembered forever among the state's athletic immortals. The group of eight will be enshrined next summer at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum in Natchitoches.
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