KSYL Local News Archives for 2015-12

News For Wednesday 12/23/15


News for Wednesday 122315

By Dave Graichen

 

Much of the state could experience severe weather today. State Climatologist Barry Keim says this warm-humid air mass that’s over the state could produce flash flooding, damaging winds, hail and tornadoes. Keim says higher rainfall totals are anticipated in southeast Louisiana, while the threat of severe weather extends across the entire state. Rain chances will remain high through Christmas Day, but today provides the highest risk for severe storms.

 

The office of Governor-elect John Bel Edwards says nearly 11,000 invitations have been sent out for the swearing in ceremony on the steps of the State Capitol on January 11th. But you don’t need an invite to attend. Edwards will officially become our Governor at 12 noon, and the public is encouraged to attend the ceremony which begins that day at 11:30.

 

For the first time on record, the American Automobile Association projects that over 100 million holiday travelers will hit the road this year. That’s nearly one in three Americans traveling 50 miles or more for the holidays. AAA spokesman Don Redman says lower gas prices, an improved economy, and holidays falling on the weekend make it much easier for people to travel this holiday season.

 

Prices at the pump continue to fall. GasBuddy.com reports that the current statewide average for a gallon of regular in Louisiana stands at $1.78.

 

State Police say a shooting involving deputies from the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office has left one man dead. The deceased man is identified as 32-year-old Michael Noel of Breaux Bridge. Family members told media that deputies were called to the home because Noel was having a breakdown. All authorities will confirm at this point is that  St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s deputies were involved, at least one shot was fired, and one person is dead.

 

A 19-year-old was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds on the side of the road in Jennings. Deputy Chief Danny Semmes says Trey Gant died at a hospital after he was located around 11:30 Monday night. He says they are searching for 29-year-old Thomas Segura, but he’s not considered a suspect just yet. The investigation is ongoing.

 

The state fire marshal’s office reports a camper trailer fire early Saturday morning in Pineville  has claimed the lives of two people after a man died Monday night in a local hospital. 56year-old Kenneth Ashworth, who initially survived the blaze, passed away Monday evening.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

 

New Census numbers show Louisiana added nearly 22-thousand residents to its population from July 1st 2014 to July of this year. Demographer Elliot Stonecipher says the slight increase is due to more births compared to deaths and an increase in citizens from foreign countries.

Stonecipher says Louisiana finished with a net loss of 74-hundred residents, when you look at migration totals within the United States. Meaning, the bayou state lost more of its residents to other states than they took in. He says that problem could get worse, if oil prices remain low

 

Two men have been accused of timber theft after some landowners discovered that their timber had been cut without their permission. 65 year old Allen Fife of Tullos, and 46 year old Delaine Yocum, 46, of Winnfield, were arrested on Tuesday after a joint investigation by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the LaSalle Parish Sheriff's Office.

Both were booked into the LaSalle Parish Jail and were charged with one count of timber theft.

 

If you’re one of the many Louisianians who ran to the grocery store this week to get your Blue Bell Ice Cream fix, experts say the product is likely safer than it’s ever been. Blue Bell products were linked to several listeria deaths in the spring, forcing the company to pull the treats from the shelves. LSU Health New Orleans Infectious Diseases Professor Dr. Fred Lopez says the FDA has implemented new regulations -and- Blue Bell has added an additional step to their process to ensure safety

 

There are many in Louisiana not happy about these unseasonably warm temperatures this Christmas, but experts say retailers who rely on winter clothing sales are really struggling. Many stores are welcoming last minute shoppers with major discounts.

 

A man who allegedly stole someone’s iPhone 6 was caught when Lafayette cops tracked him through a selfie he’d taken with the device. Investigators say a 26-year-old male victim reported he was robbed of his property at gunpoint, but later noticed activity on the phone through his home computer when he discovered and uploaded the selfie. Lafayette police made contact with the suspect, 27-year-old Leroy Hebert, through a dating website. He was arrested a charged with armed robbery.

 

The Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office says a 3-year-old boy drowned in the early morning hours  Tuesday in a canal near his home near Crowville. The child reportedly wandered away from his home during the night and his parents didn’t notice he was missing until about 4am. The case is under investigation.

 

Governor Bobby Jindal and his wife Supriya say they’ve collected almost 300 pounds of food for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank they’ve asked guests to bring during the Christmas season. They encourage anyone who can to donate to Louisiana’s food banks.

 

A 17-year-old who suffered an apparent accidental gunshot wound to the head has been pronounced clinically deceased, according to the Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office. They say a 911 report came in over the weekend with a caller stating Dronald Washington was playing with a .38 caliber revolver when it went off. They say this is an ongoing investigation as questions surrounding the incident remain unanswered.

 

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News For Tuesday 12/22/15


News for Tuesday 122215

By Dave Graichen

 

A cause of a fire in Pineville over the weekend that claimed the life of a resident and critically injured a second is being examined by the State Fire Marshal’s Office. They say the blaze claimed the life of the homeowner 58-year-old Neida Reeves and a critically burned a second occupant, 56-year-old Kenneth Ashworth who had second and third degree burns over 2/3 of his body. The investigation into this tragic fire is continuing.

 

Warm and active weather patterns are in the forecast for the days leading up to Christmas. Temperatures are expected to be well above normal with near record warmth for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Severe weather could become an issue over the next three days according to the National Weather Service with the possibility for flash flooding, tornadoes and damaging winds. Last night several Tornadoes were spotted in Central Louisiana during heavy rain that pass through the area.

 

Today is the first full day of winter. Winter officially began at 10:49PM last night with the winter solstice. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the seasonal forecast is kind of gloomy. He says this winter will bring cooler and wetter than normal conditions to Louisiana. Keim says, despite a forecast for cooler temperatures, you shouldn’t expect a lot of freezes across Louisiana this winter.

 

Governor-elect John Bel Edwards is urging the federal government and the state Department of Children and Family Services to avoid interruption in food stamps for able-bodied single adults on January 1st. The Jindal Administration said starting next year, single people who are able to work would only have their benefits continue if they had a job or were in a training program. Edwards says there are still 31,000 low-income adults who would lose their benefits next Friday without intervention.

 

An alcoholic version of the famous Abita Root Beer arrives in stores this week. Abita Brewing Company Brewmaster Mark Wilson says the hard root beer will be the first product in its line of “Bayou Bootlegger” hard sodas. He says it only made sense to come up with an adult take on the same old-fashioned Abita Root Beer recipe made with pure Louisiana cane sugar. Wilson says the Bayou Bootlegger Hard Root Beer is brewed to achieve a 5.9 percent alcohol by volume and is all natural and gluten free. He says they hope the hard root beer is eventually as popular as the original.

 

As the fall shrimp season comes to a close, many shrimpers and seafood dealers say this has been a terrible year for the industry. Louisiana Shrimp Association President Clint Guidry agrees, but says there are reasons to be hopeful. He says a resurgence of imported shrimp led to some of the lowest prices ever seen at the dock. He says recently passed legislation to better control the importing of shrimp should help.

 

A maintenance worker at a horse farm in Bossier Parish is in jail after he allegedly set off a bomb underneath a home located on the property. Bossier Parish Sheriff’s spokesperson, Lt. Bill Davis, says 54-year-old Douglas Holley of Benton is facing two counts of attempted first degree murder and one count of manufacturing a bomb. He says apparently Holley was upset at one of the vet’s who lived at that home. Nobody was seriously injured.

 

17 arrest warrants have been issued in an attempt to stop criminal activity by the Gremlins Gang through four parishes in South Central Louisiana. State Police spokesperson Brooks David says a lengthy, multi-agency investigation led cops to suspect the Gremlins Gang is possibly linked to homicides, intimidation and widespread narcotics distribution. He says all of them, 10 in custody and 7 at large, face several charges, including racketeering, which carries a long prison sentence if convicted.

 

Former LSU Tiger Odell Beckham Junior has been suspended for one game for his actions against Carolina cornerback Josh Norman. Beckham was flagged three times for unnecessary roughness. He was reportedly upset that a member of the Panthers was walking around on the field with a bat in his hands before the game. The Giants star wide out plans to appeal the suspension.

 

Governor Bobby Jindal and his family have reportedly closed on their new home at the University Club in Baton Rouge. Filings with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court’s Office show the Jindals bought their house for $817,500. Governor-elect John Bel Edwards takes office January 11th.

 

Three Louisiana college baseball teams are ranked in the first preseason poll. Collegiate Baseball has UL Lafayette ranked sixth, LSU is ranked seventh and Tulane is ranked 19th.

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News For Monday 12/21/15


News for Monday 122115

By Dave Graichen

 

Expanding the Medicaid program remains a top priority for incoming governor John Bel Edwards. Edwards says this will result in additional federal tax dollars flowing into the state, helping Louisiana with its health care needs. He says without federal assistance, hospitals will close. Edwards will be  sworn in on January 11th.

 

Alex Winter Fete proved to be a big hit, even exceeding Alexandria officials’ expectations.

Mayor Roy saying “It was a resounding success,” Bottom line, more than 27,000 people attended the inaugural Alex Winter Fete that was held Dec. 3-5 in downtown Alexandria. That’s close to double what The city had projected for the three-day event. The Mayor also went on to say The reviews he has heard from the community were overwhelming positive.

 

Blue Bell lovers get an early Christmas present today as the ice cream makes it way back on shelves in Louisiana. Blue Bell Spokesperson Joe Robertson says seven different flavors will be available . Blue Bell was forced to take their ice cream off the shelves last spring because its products were linked to 10 listeria cases, including three deaths in Kansas. He says they’ve made huge changes to ensure that listeria is never a problem again in Blue Bell ice cream.

 

Many will travel on Louisiana highways during this holiday season and they’ll see the price at the pump around a $1.80 for a gallon of regular gasoline. Gas-Buddy-dot-com (gasbuddy.com) spokesperson Gregg Laskoski says prices haven’t been this low since March 2009. And He says gas prices are 50 cents lower than this time last year. Laskoski says the downward pressure of the price of crude oil is what’s driving gas prices down. He says we can expect to see gas this low into the first month of the new year. Laskoski says some locations across the state are advertising gas prices as low as $1.57 a gallon.

 

State authorities are looking into possible wrongdoing by outgoing Angola Warden Burl Cain. There’s been reports Cain violated department rules in real estate transactions with relatives of inmates, but officials say there are other allegations as well. Corrections Secretary James Leblanc wouldn’t elaborate. Cain has said he’s done nothing wrong.

 

A Vernon Parish man is in jail for first-degree murder after authorities determined he allegedly killed his finance and her nine year old son. Misty Marshall and the nine-year-old boy had not been seen since Thanksgiving. Sheriff Sam Craft says this tragic crime has rocked this rural area. Two other children belonging to Marshall were not harmed.

 

The Food and Drug Administration plans to ban anyone younger than 18 from using indoor tanning beds or sunlamps. LSU Associate Clinical Professor and Dermatologist Dr. Sarah Jackson says the American Academy of Dermatology is in full support of these regulations. Jackson says about 1.6 million minors use tanning beds every year. Jackson says there are countless cases of skin cancer related to tanning bed use. She says they’ve seen an increase in the amount of young women with melanoma since tanning beds became popular.

 

The latest Star Wars movie is generating a lot of buzz. This Louisiana boy went on opening day and he says he’s the biggest Star Wars fan you’ll ever meet. For it’s preview showings alone, “The Force Awakens” brought in a record breaking $57 million dollars at US box offices in one night

 

State Police say stepped up patrols are underway in an effort to keep drunk drivers off the road this holiday. Sgt. Nick Manale says over the Thanksgiving holiday they saw a high number of traffic fatalities and want to prevent that from happening again. During the 2014 holiday season, there were 671 fatal and injury crashes and 99 involved alcohol.

 

A former investigator with the DA’s Office in Washington Parish has been indicted by a grand jury amidst allegations he used his position to force women to have sex with him. Chief Deputy Mike Haley says 66-year-old Michael Cotton of Bogalusa allegedly threatened a female drug offender to obtain sex. He says the victims assisted in the investigation. He says Cotton is being held with $75,000 bond on an extortion charge and $25,000 for public bribery.

 

A 40-year-old ban that prevented the United States from exporting oil has been lifted. Both the US House and Senate approved legislation that will allow the US to send crude oil to other countries. Metairie Congressman Steve Scalise calls it a big win for Louisiana as the lifting of the ban could create as many as five-thousand jobs.

 

Duck Dynasty has reached a syndication deal with the Outdoor channel. The first six-seasons of the Louisiana-based reality TV show will begin airing on the Outdoor channel next month.

 

Sports..

 

It appears Pelicans Coach Alvin Gentry is fed up with the losing. After the team’s latest defeat to Phoenix last night, Gentry said the effort from his players was terrible. New Orleans is now 7-19 on the year.

 

The Saints face the Detroit Lions tonight at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in a battle of two teams with losing records. New Orleans is 5-8 on the year, but coming off one of its best performances of the season when they beat Tampa Bay last week. Quarterback Drew Brees says they want to build on that performance. The Saints were eliminated from playoff contention for a second straight year when Seattle and Minnesota won yesterday. Even though the Saints have fallen short of reaching their goals, Brees says the players have not given up on the season

 

The Louisiana Tech senior duo of Jeff Driskel and Kenneth Dixon powered the Bulldogs to a 47-28 victory over Arkansas State on Saturday in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.

It was a memorable night for both Driskel and Dixon in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Driskel, who lost in New Orleans as Florida's quarterback in the Sugar Bowl following the 2012 season, threw for 457 yards and three touchdowns. Dixon totaled 203 yards rushing and receiving and scored four times to move atop of the FBS record books.

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News For Friday 12/18/15


News for Friday 121815

By Dave Graichen

 

The $1 million dollar bond reduction motion was reportedly denied for two former Marksville Police Officers accused in the murder of a 6-year-old boy. Norris Greenhouse Jr. is out on a million dollar property bond, and Derrick Stafford is still in jail on $1 million dollar bond. The two were indicted last week in the shooting death of 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis and wounding of his father, Christopher Few.

 

The State Department of Education Thursday released public school report cards to show parents how their child’s school is performing. They came up with the grades on a number of different factors including test scores, ACT scores and more depending on what type of school was being graded. Here in Rapides parish, 6 schools received an “A”, 12 a “B”, 14 a “c”, 21 a “D” and 5 received an “F”.  Go to Louisiana-believes-dot-com to find out the letter grade of the public school your child attends. 

 

The State Police report  A Jena man died early Thursday after he crashed his truck and was ejected when it began overturning. 55 year old Rawlins Breland died at the scene of the wreck around 4:40 a.m. on La. Highway 127.

 

On a six-to vote, the New Orleans city council votes to remove four Confederate monuments from their current location, including the one from Lee Circle. There were passionate arguments on both sides. Mayor Mitch Landrieu says three of the monuments could be removed in a matter of days.

 

To keep alcohol related deaths down during the holiday season, police are increasing the number of officers on our roadways. State Police Sgt. Nick Manale says the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign begins today and runs through January 3rd.  According to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, during the 2014 holiday season, there were 671 fatal and injury crashes and 99 involved alcohol.

 

Former US Representative Charles Melancon will lead the state department of wildlife and fisheries. Melancon is joining Governor-elect John Bel Edwards’ new administration. Melancon says he wants to find a balance between private and commercial fisherman. Colonel Mike Edmonson also remains as the State Police Superintendent.

 

LSU admitted in court filings this week that they altered the contract of former defensive coordinator John Chavis, according to a report in the Advocate. The University and the now Texas A&M defensive coordinator have been in an ongoing dispute since Chavis left, and following a court appearance this morning, Chavis’ lawyer told reporters that LSU said they changed his contract after he signed it.

 

There’s just one shopping weekend left until Christmas and folks that fell behind this year will be out and about Saturday and Sunday with list in hand. Tomorrow is known as “Super Saturday,” but LSU Marketing Professor Dan Rice says the good news for last minute shoppers is that they could be paying even less in stores as many sales have already kicked in. He says you can expect the malls to be packed as folks rush to wrap everything up.

 

A bunch of points are expected on Saturday night at the R-and-L Carriers New Orleans Bowl as Louisiana Tech faces Arkansas State. Both teams rank in the top 20 in scoring as the Red Wolves are averaging 41 points a game and the Bulldogs have averaged 37 a contest.

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News For Thursday 12/17/15


News for Thursday 121715

By Dave Graichen

 

Governor-elect John Bel Edwards announced some members of his cabinet and staff during a news conference Wednesday. State Police Col Mike Edmonson will remain at his post, former US Representative Charlie Melancon will be the new Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary, DOTD Cheif of staff Shawn Wilson will now head the agency. Edwards says he’s delivering on his promise to establish a staff that looks like the state. Some others listed Wednesday include retiring state Representative Karen St. Germain who will head the Office of Motor Vehicles and Don Pierson will serve as secretary of Louisiana Economic Development.

 

The Louisiana Oil and Gas Industry is applauding Congress for wrapping up a deal late Tuesday that included a provision that would lift the four-decade ban on most exports of oil. President Don Briggs says this would make the US more energy independent and create thousands of jobs in the state. Opponents of lifting the ban say more drilling would harm the environment.

 

The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it would raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade, so what does this mean for Louisianians? State Treasurer John Kennedy says the Fed lowered rates to almost zero during the 2008 financial crisis. Kennedy says the Fed is taking baby steps as a one quarter of 1% rate increase will only modestly impact consumers.

 

Louisiana State Police is graduating a new cadet class today. These 57 men and women have been in training for the last 16 weeks and will continue field training for 12 weeks after graduation. Trooper Nick Manale says this is their third cadet class in the past few years.

 

Police in Tangipahoa Parish are investigating an apparent “love triangle” double murder/suicide that has shocked the town of Independence. Authorities believe 38-year-old Thomas Ransom walked into Angie’s Bar Tuesday night and confronted his estranged wife April and another man, 43-year-old Joseph Cormier — shot and killed them, then turned the gun on himself.

 

In an e-mail to supporters, former Republican congressman Joseph Cao (GOW) announced his plans to run for Senator David Vitter’s soon to be vacant seat. Cao joins fellow Republicans Congressmen Charles Boustany and John Fleming and others in announcing their intent to seek the seat.

 

Holiday times typically bring about various scams and Entergy Louisiana says one going around is people calling residents demanding money or their power will be cut off. Spokesperson Kacee Kirschvink says you’ll know it’s a scam if the caller transfers you to a third party card. She says Entergy and most utility companies never request immediate payment over the phone and if you think you’re being scammed, let the authorities know.

 

If you’re gifting a drone for Christmas you should know there are new regulations set for by the Federal Aviation Administration. FAA spokesperson Lynn Lunsford says any drone weighing between half a pound and 55 pounds must be registered before it can fly. He encourages drone operators to learn some basic safety rules before taking flight. You can register your drone online at FAA-dot-gov beginning December 21st.

 

A man wanted for the shooting death of a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office sergeant has been arrested in Alabama. Tuscaloosa police and U.S. Marshals arrested 48-year-old James Darby yesterday in the death of Sergeant Tracy Marshal. JPSO Sheriff Newell Normand said the two had a rocky relationship years ago.

 

An Ascension Parish woman has pleaded guilty to collecting Veterans’ Affairs benefits that were intended for her mother who died in 2011. 45-year-old Michelle Akridge of Prairieville confessed to taking more than $77,000. Authorities say Akridge did not report her mother’s death and illegally collected the checks for four years.

 

The LSU Vet School wants to remind pet owners to be careful when feeding their animals table food during the holidays. Assistant Professor Dr. Nancy Welborne says every year during this time, their clinics see an increase in digestive issues with family pets, often because of eating a high fat diet that they’re not used to. Welborne also says don’t let your dog get ahold of any chocolate because it’s highly toxic. She says milk chocolate is the least harmful, while dark chocolate is the most and it only takes a little to make your pet extremely sick.

 

McNeese State officially announced Defensive Coordinator Lance Guidry will be the next head coach of The Cowboys, taking over for Matt Viator. Guidry served as Viator’s DC since 2013.

 

Court filings show that Robert Durst still has a plea deal with federal prosecutors in New Orleans but won’t sign it this year. He had been scheduled for a change-of-plea hearing Thursday on a weapons charge. But prosecutors and defense attorneys told Judge Helen Berrigan in a joint motion Tuesday that scheduling conflicts rule out all dates before a Jan.

11 trial date. Berrigan rescheduled the trial for March, noting that will let both sides set a new date for the rearrangement and plea agreement. The weapons charge has kept Durst jailed in Louisiana since March, though he waived extradition to Los Angeles. There, he’s accused of killing friend and former spokeswoman Susan Berman.

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News For Wednesday 12/16/15


News for Wednesday 121615

By Dave Graichen

 

The Alexandria City Council on Tuesday approved a plan that increases rates for water, gas and wastewater services but lowers basic electricity rates. City officials say for the most part, the increases will be offset, leaving a minimal effect on customers.

 

WWL-TV is reporting that the death of a man who was fatally shot by a New Orleans Police Officer early Monday has been ruled a homicide. The coroner’s report indicates the victim had been shot twice by Officer Fredrick Carter. NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison earlier stated they believe victim fired first then Carter returned fire. More on this as it develops.

 

Two plantations in Louisiana have been nominated for the 10 Best Historic Home Tours by USA Today. Houmas House Plantation and Gardens in Darrow and Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie are among 20 historic houses on the list. You can vote once a day, every day through December 21st online at 10-Best-dot-com (10Best.com).

 

There’s a big buzz this week over disturbing reports that forced labor is being used for the shelling of shrimp being imported into the US from factories in Thailand. Thomas Hymel (EE-Mel) with the LSU Ag Center Sea Grant program estimates that more than 90% of our food is imported. He says most of the shrimp and seafood we eat, comes from places like Thailand. Hymel says there are many countries who export products to us that engage in slave labor for a bigger profit and, the majority of the time, nobody knows it’s going on.

 

State Police say a 30-year-old man from Lafayette was killed after being run over while he was walking on the side of the road Early yesterday morning. They say a pickup truck was traveling south on LA 343 when a pedestrian walked off the shoulder and into the path of the vehicle. The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene. The matter is under investigation.

 

The Jefferson Parish District Attorney has formally charged two former Destrehan High School teachers accused of having a three-way sexual encounter with a 16-year-old student. 33-year-old Shelly Dufrense faces two counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile. 25-year-old Rachel Respess is charged with one count of failure to report the commission of certain felonies.

 

The LSU Ag Center held a crawfish producers meeting Tuesday, helping farmers improve their crop. Judging from the comments of Louisiana Crawfish Farmers Association President David Savoy, farmers are doing just fine. He expects business to start picking up between Christmas and New Year’s, with March and April really taking off.

 

If you’re planning on buying a gun for someone else for Christmas this year, firearm dealers are urging you to be cautious. Federally licensed sellers are required to perform background checks and customers who purchase a gun for someone who couldn’t pass, that’s called  a straw purchase, face serious consequences. Blake Boudreaux, general manager at Lafayette Shooters, advises people to really know the person they’re buying for. Boudreaux says the federal government takes the crime of straw purchasing extremely serious. He says during the holiday season it’s often hard to discern between a gift buyer and a person purchasing a gun for someone who couldn’t pass a background check.

 

The Louisiana Tech football team has arrived in the Big Easy in advance of Saturday’s R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. The 8-4 Bulldogs will face the 9-3 Arkansas State Red Wolves in the game that kicks off at 8PM in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Tech head coach Skip Holtz says now that game week is here, the team is enthused to get going. Saturday’s game will be televised on ESPN.

 

ULM formally introduced Matt Viator as the new head football coach of the Warhawks Tuesday. Viator amassed a 77-33 record in his 10 seasons at McNeese leading the Cowboys to four Southland Conference championships. He says the first order of business is to put together his staff. Viator replaces Todd Berry who was let go in November.

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News For Tuesday 12/15/15


News for Tuesday 121515

By Dave Graichen

 

At their meeting Monday, The Rapides Parish Police Jury approved its 2016. The overall budget for 2016 is $203.41 million, up slightly from $201.31 million in 2015. Most of that money  involves “passthrough” funds that are funneled to other agencies. The 2016 fiscal year coincides with the calendar year.  

 

Shell has announced they will cut an additional 2,800 jobs as crude oil prices hover multi-year lows. The company previously announced a cut of 7,500 jobs. LSU Economist Dr. Loren Scott says, with crude oil prices below $40 a barrel, the entire industry is almost in a panic mode. Scott says as long as Saudi Arabia floods the market with crude oil, prices will not improve forcing oil companies to continue to cut back.

 

As expected, Republican Lafayette Congressman Charles Boustany has announced his intent to run for the US Senate. He joins fellow Republicans Minden Congressman John Fleming and Col. Rob Maness in seeking the seat being vacated by US Senator David Vitter. Boustany says he wants to bring his record of conservative leadership from the US House to the upper chamber. State Treasurer John Kennedy is expected to jump in the field and PSC member Scott Angelle’s name has been mentioned as a potential candidate.

 

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office says one of their employees who was found dead in her personal vehicle Monday morning is identified as a JPSO sergeant. They say 47-year-old Tracey Marshall was located by first responders in the driver’s seat shot multiple times and pronounced dead on the scene. Marshal, who joined the JPSO in 2005, was a sergeant assigned to the courts as a bailiff. The investigation is ongoing.

 

The Army Corps of Engineers says they are inspecting levees for signs of seepage or failure from Baton Rouge south as the Mississippi River rises above 12 and a quarter feet above sea level in New Orleans. In Baton Rouge the water level was at 31 feet Monday. Restrictions during the high water period include no transportation of heavy loads over the levee and no underground work within 1500 feet of the levee.

 

Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson on Monday offered to resign as trustee of a disputed family trust fund in Texas only if his estranged heirs don’t take his place. The 88-year-old filed the petition asking an independent trustee succeed him in keeping accounts which hold a bank, real estate and car dealerships in Texas — instead of his daughter Renee Benson.

 

A judge Monday dismissed a lawsuit by the Louisiana Chemical Association arguing the temporary suspension of a 1-cent sales tax exemption on business utilities did not get the required number of votes and is unconstitutional. Lawmakers passed the tax change which would generate $103 million dollars to balance the state’s budget. The judge said the procedure for adoption on the concurrent resolution was in line with the constitution

 

The Baton Rouge Police Department says a Dairy Queen employee is under arrest for allegedly spitting on the hamburger of an officer. They say a Lt. with BRPD ordered his food and noticed a clear substance on top of the bun so he notified the manager who reviewed camera footage of the incident. 21-year-old Elijah Johnson faces many charges including mingling harmful substances and resisting an officer. Cops say Johnson admitted to having several diseases including herpes.

 

The New Orleans Police Department says the man who was fatally shot by an officer early Monday morning, fired the first shot. NOPD Chief Michael Harrison says the body camera shows Officer Fredrick Carter returning fire after the suspect shot at the him. He says it’s unclear why the subject fired at the officer as the traffic stop seemed to be routine .Officer Carter, who was not injured, will be reassigned pending the outcome of the investigation.

 

After spending the last 10 seasons at the helm of the McNeese State football program, Matt Viator has been named head coach at ULM.  As coach of the Cowboys, Viator won three conference championships and made four FCS playoff appearances. ULM will introduce Viator at a press conference today.

 

The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Beau Clark reports a record number in deaths in the parish due to heroin, in 2015. Clark says this is about a 9-percent increase from 2013. He says we still have two more weeks left in the year, so there is a chance that the number could be even higher.  Clark says the drug effects people of all races but the majority of victims are white males.

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News For Monday 12/14/15


News for Monday 121415

By Dave Graichen

 

Governor-elect John Bel Edwards sent a letter to the Speaker of the Louisiana House, Representative Chuck Kleckley, to formally resign as the State Representative for House District 72. In a statement, Edwards thanks his Amite District for allow him to serve and says he’s resigning in order to devote his full attention to the transition to the Office of the Governor.

 

Candidates are stacking up in the 2016 US Senate Race for the seat being vacated by David Vitter. Republican Congressmen Charles Boustany is formally announcing today joining fellow GOPs US Rep John Flemming and retired Air Force Col Rob Maness. Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy is expected to run and Scott Angelle’s name has been mentioned.

 

There were some very disappointed people Sunday as severe storms rolling through Alexandria Sunday led to the cancellation of the Alexandria Christmas Parade. The good news is, most other parades across the area were able to roll. A large crowd turned out Friday night for the Pineville Christmas parade.

 

Former Louisiana Tech president Dan Reneau has been named interim president of the University of Louisiana System. Reneau, who was president of Louisiana Tech for 26 years before retiring in 2013, says he’s honored to have been asked to help out on a temporary basis. Current UL-System President Sandra Woodley announced her resignation in November.

 

Construction of the equipment needed to dispose of 16 million pounds of M6 propellant stored at Camp Minden in Webster Parish continues. LSU-Shreveport Chemistry professor Brian Salvatore says about 90-percent of what’s needed to conduct the contained burn is on site. Salvatore says the assembly of the contained burn chamber will be finished in January with test burns starting in February. He says they expect the disposal to be complete in January of 2017.

 

Sigma Chi (KAI)International Fraternity has closed its LSU chapter amid alleged drug and hazing policy violations. The University put the fraternity on interim suspension November 3rd and say while the investigation is not complete, Sigma Chi will not be allowed on campus through the end of 2018.

 

Governor Bobby Jindal has been traveling the state touting the accomplishments he’s made during his two terms as governor. Jindal is scheduled to speak at the Baton Rouge Press Club today. Jindal made visits to Shreveport and Monroe last week highlighting his economic development achievements.

 

Now that all military jobs are available for women in the United States, 21-year-old Pvt. Journae King of Laplace made history in the Louisiana Army National Guard as the first woman to enlist as a field artillery soldier. King’s recruiter, Staff Sgt. Robert Gregoire says even though she knew the position would be challenging, she stepped up to the plate.

 

For the first time since 2004, intrastate commercial air service returns to Louisiana beginning today. New Orleans based GLO airlines is now offering flights between Louis Armstrong International Airport and Shreveport Regional Airport. Trey Fayard, founder and CEO of GLO, says there is a major demand for a link between north and south Louisiana.  The aircraft, a 30-passenger Saab 340B,  will make two round trips on weekdays and one on Saturday’s & Sunday’s  You can see the daily flight schedule and book online at FlyGLO.com.

 

A Thibodaux man convicted of raping and impregnating an 11year-old girl was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Prosecutor Bud Barnes said 27-year-old Joseph Riney was sentenced Friday. Riney was convicted of aggravated rape in November after a two-day trial in which a state police crime lab analyst testified that DNA evidence linked him to the crime and the baby.

 

The New Orleans Saints have been adamant that the story of this season hasn’t been written yet. And they finally made those words mean something Sunday. Effective on defense and efficient on offense, New Orleans ground out a 24-17 win over Tampa Bay that snapped a four-game losing streak and kept the Saints’ slim playoff hopes mathematically alive.

 

LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva announced Friday that a statue has been commissioned of LSU All-America and NBA star Bob Pettit. It’s expected to be unveiled prior to the conclusion of the 2015-2016 basketball season. Pettit played at LSU in the 1952, 1953 and 1954 seasons and scored 1,916 points. The life-size statue will be placed in the area in the front of the Basketball Practice Complex near the Shaq statue.

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News For Friday 12/11/15


News for Friday 121115

By Dave Graichen

 

An Avoyelles grand jury has indicted two officers on murder charges in connection with a shooting that left 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis dead, and his father, Chris Few, injured in Marksville. Norris Greenhouse Jr. and Derrick Stafford are both now formally charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder. They were arrested on November 6 on those same charges.

 

It’s a big parade weekend in Central Louisiana. But the weather could be a negative factor. Conditions should be fine for the Pineville Christmas parade this evening. But, it will be warm with temps in the 70’s.. Numerous parades across the area Saturday only have a slight chance of rain during their events. Sunday, the day of The Alexandria Christmas parade, could be a different story. Forecasters are saying a strong storm system will move through the area, bring with it a near 100% chance of rain and winds gusting as high as 45 mph. As of now the Alexandria Parade is a go.. But, organizers say they will keep a close eye on the weather.

 

It has been rumored for years but finally Work has begun for a new Holiday Inn  Express coming to Pineville. The four-story, 81-room hotel will be located on U.S. Highway 165, next to KMart.  City officials hope the new Holiday Inn is the first of many new hotel projects.

 

The United Health Foundation’s annual America’s Health Rankings lists Louisiana as the least healthy state in the country. United Health Foundation’s Rhonda Russell says Louisiana fell two spots from last year. She says several factors lead to the state’s low ranking. Obesity and smoking top that list. She says Louisiana also ranks 50th in the country in the percentage of children living in poverty.

 

President Barack Obama signs a major new education bill that will give states more control over school accountability and student testing. State Superintendent of Education John White says this legislation will allow the state to determine its own standards. He says a large committee made up of Louisiana education leaders is already looking at proposed changes to Common Core. The bill replaces the 2002 No Child Left Behind education law.

 

The Department of Corrections says Dixon Correctional Warden Darrel Vannoy will take over for outgoing Angola Warden Burl Cain, at least on an interim basis. Cain, the longest serving warden in Angola history, steps down at the end of the year.

 

The American Automobile Association says the current statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $1.83. A year ago we were paying $2.46.

 

Arkansas State offensive coordinator Walt Bell has reportedly turned down an opportunity to be the next head coach at ULM. So who is interested in the job? McNeese State head coach Matt Viator reportedly remains a finalist and the search committee is also taking a look at Grambling head coach Broderick Fobbs and Alcorn State head coach Jay Hopson.

 

US Representative Charles Boustany, a Republican from Lafayette, says he plans to formally announce he’s running for the US Senate in 2016 on Monday at his home. Boustany joins several others running for the seat being vacated by Senator David Vitter who’s retiring and not seeking another term.

 

Emotions were running high during a public hearing in New Orleans over whether or not to remove four Confederate monuments. The City Council is expected to vote next week one way or another on a declaration that states the structures are a nuisance which would pave the way for them to come down.

 

State Police say a 14-year-old Prairieville boy was killed when he was struck by a vehicle as he was riding his bicycle in Ascension Parish Wednesday night. They report Brennan Rube was on his bike when a truck driven by 26-year-old Joshua Ashford hit the teen from behind causing him to be ejected from his bicycle. Rube, a student at Dutchtown High, was pronounced dead at the scene and Ashford charged with negligent homicide for suspected speeding.

 

One of the more unique holiday traditions in Louisiana takes place tomorrow night in south Louisiana with the 12th annual Delcambre Christmas Boat Parade.  Parade President Marae Fontenot says the boat parade was started 12 years ago by a resident who got the idea after seeing a similar boat parade in Florida. The Parade starts at 6pm. A fire works will cap off the evening.

 

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News For Thursday 12/10/15


News for Thursday 121015

By Dave Graichen

 

A Baton Rouge TV station is reporting that Angola Warden Burl Cain will resign at the end of the year. The report comes a few weeks after articles were published questioning whether Cain’s real estate deals with friends of inmates violated Department of Corrections rules. Cain is 73 and has been warden of the Louisiana State Penitentiary since 1995.

 

The APD reports an Alexandria man has been charged with attempted murder after a Monday afternoon car crash that ended in the shooting of another driver.  Detectives arrested 21-year-old Kendrick Dewayne Madison, charging him with attempted second degree murder. The unidentified victim is listed in fair at a local hospital.

 

A fire Wednesday afternoon at Rosie Jo’s Crawfish on Jackson Street Extension destroyed the small restaurant. The cause of the blaze  is still under investigation. Nobody was injured, and the building appeared to be unoccupied at the time.

 

Part of the Jindal Administration’s plan to plug money into this year’s $487 million dollar budget deficit is to use more than $28 million in Louisiana’s rainy day fund, and lawmakers voted in favor of doing so yesterday. Lawmakers were told if the rainy day fund money couldn’t be used, then cuts would have to be made to higher education. Analysts say this plan leaves Governor-elect John Bel Edwards with major budget problems when he takes office in a little over a month.

 

The first deadline for Louisiana residents to purchase health insurance for 2016 through the Affordable Care Act is approaching. The open enrollment deadline to purchase insurance coverage that begins January 1st is December 15th. Louisiana has already surpassed last year’s enrollment numbers as almost 61,000 residents have signed up for coverage as of December 5th.

 

A task force formed by the state legislature has begun work on developing legislation regarding the use of police body cameras. Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine says the body cameras have been an asset to her police officers and they want to make sure other police departments take advantage of this technology. The task force is charged with developing rules for proper use of body cameras, guidelines on releasing video data and if there should be any situations where officers do not wear them.

 

The LSU Foundation says the university’s alumni donate back less than any other school in the SEC. LSU Foundation President Stephen Moret says just 6 percent of LSU’s graduates give money to the university. He says higher ed has been struggling over the past several years which is why private donations are so important.  He says LSU’s endowment per student is tied for last in the conference at $420 million.

 

Republican Col. Rob Maness has filed a statement of candidacy for the open Louisiana senate seat being vacated by Senator David Vitter next year. He ran unsuccessfully for US senate in 2014 and says this time around, he’s worked to better the way his campaign team is constructed and has concentrated more on fundraising efforts. The first poll on the 2016 US Senate race showed Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy and Democrat Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell leading a hypothetical field.

 

Louisiana has the lowest percentage of women participating in the state legislature nationally according to Pew Charitable Trusts. UNO Political Science Professor Christine Day says women don’t typically run for office in conservative southern states, but we have had a female governor and US Senator. She says Hillary Clinton’s presidential run could influence other women to jump into politics.

 

Raising Cane’s announces a major milestone will be made today as two new stores open in Texas and Oklahoma bringing the total number of the chicken finger restaurants to 250. The Baton Rouge based company now has locations in 20 states and Cane’s CEO Todd Graves says they are extremely excited about reaching this milestone.

 

A teacher from Calvary Baptist Academy in Shreveport  is facing many charges for allegedly sending inappropriate online messages to one of his 16-year-old female students. State Police say 25-year-old Kyle Rutledge ended up chatting with investigators while thinking it was the victim.  Rutledge was charged with Computer Aided Solicitation of a Minor, Indecent Behavior with Juveniles, and Prohibited Sexual Conduct between Educator and Student.

 

The Breaux Bridge Police Department arrests a woman accused of driving drunk in a crash that left a 9-year-old dead. They say 35-year-old Leah Kilchrist of Breaux Bridge crossed the center line on a roadway and hit another vehicle that was occupied by a family of four, including the child who died. Kilchrist is charged with vehicular homicide, vehicular negligent injury, driving left of center and no driver’s license.

 

A pharmaceutical company out of Baton Rouge has created a therapeutic vaccine for prostate cancer. Phase one of the therapy vaccine has been approved by the FDA. CEO Jonathan Head says there is a huge need for this product and so far in trials it’s been a success with very little side effects. Head says the vaccine is injected into the body after someone is diagnosed with prostate cancer. He says the goal is for this to be an alternative to radiation or surgery.

 

LSU football got some more bad postseason news Wednesday. The Tigers did not land a spot on the Southeastern Conference individual awards. The SEC champion Alabama led the pack with four winners including Offensive and defensive player of the year. Tennessee, Texas A&M, Florida and Arkansas were the other teams with players who received individual awards.

 

USA Today released its annual assistant coaching salaries list Wednesday and found that LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s total pay ranks second nationally at $1.5 million dollars. Auburn’s Will Muschamp topped the list. The numbers also found that the total LSU staff pay tops the nation at $5.4 million dollars with more than $100,000 in built-in raises.

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News For Wednesday 12/09/15


News for Wednesday 120915

By Dave Graichen

 

Louisiana College President Rick Brewer announced yesterday that the Pineville Baptist College was no longer on probation with its accrediting agency, S.A.C.S.  Brewer saying their  accreditation is no longer in question. The College was placed  on probation in June 2014, six months after the agency reaffirmed its accreditation, citing “external influence” and “institutional integrity.” Brewer attended SACS’ annual meeting over the weekend and was notified Tuesday when the decision was made official.

 

An extreme case of road rage on Monday let to one man being shot. The ABD reports  A car wreck led to two drivers exchanging words on Monday afternoon before one of them grabbed a gun and shot the other multiple times. The unidentified victim, after undergoing surgery, is listed in fair condition at a local hospital. The suspect in the case is, at last check, still at large.

 

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Lafayette employment decline was the worst in the nation from October of last year to October of this year, losing some 4300 jobs.  But, Lafayette is not alone, The struggling oil and gas industry is also hurting Houma-Thibodaux where about 2800 jobs were lost in the same time period. But, there is good news for the state. The Lake Charles area has the nation’s third best percentage of job increases. Two LNG export terminals are under construction in southwest Louisiana account for  much of that increase.

 

Starting with the senior class 2018, Louisiana high school students who attend public school will be required to apply for financial aid for college. State Superintendent of Education John White says students are leaving tens of millions of dollars on the table every year because they do not apply. He says financial aid applications will be required for graduation starting in 2018. Students can opt out but their parents would have to sign a waiver.

 

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu issued a statement today in response to Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s call to block all Muslims from entering the US. Landrieu says it’s absolute disgraceful poisonous rhetoric which is reminiscent of David Duke’s racism. He says the way to defeat ISIS is to strengthen ties with Muslims, not alienating them with ignorant, hateful statements.

 

The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids issued its annual report card on how states are doing with efforts in keeping young people from smoking, and Louisiana gets a failing grade. Spokesman John Schachter (Shack-Ter) says most states get failing grades on their report card and Louisiana ranks 28th in the country on anti-smoking campaigns. He says the smoking industry spends $31 to promote their product for every $1 Louisiana uses on tobacco cessation and prevention programs.

 

The AP is reporting that Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne will be making twice what he is now once he becomes the commissioner of administration for Governor-elect John Bel Edwards. As a statewide elected official, Dardenne currently earns a salary of $115,000, but as the Edwards Administration’s chief budget adviser, Dardenne will make $237,500 a year.

 

Police in Shreveport say a convention security guard killed a man he reported attacked him early Tuesday morning. They say 34-year-old Tyeshom Harvey spotted a subject destroying some property so he called police. Cops obtained surveillance footage which show the man attacking Harvey which is when the security guard stabbed the man killing him. The investigation continues, no charges have been filed in the matter.

 

The US Department of Justice announces they will not seek federal criminal civil rights charges in connection with the fatal shooting of Victor White, who died from a gunshot wound sustained while in the back of an Iberia Parish Sheriff’s deputy patrol vehicle. Legal analyst Tim Meche says it appears federal officials conducted a thorough investigation before coming to this decision. Meche says there’s not many options for the White family, if they believe justice still has not been served.

 

I-10 in West Baton Rouge Parish reopened late yesterday afternoon after a 12 hour closure due to an overnight crash involving 7 vehicles including 6 18-wheelers. State Police say thankfully nobody was seriously injured, but it took cleanup crews most of the day to off-load the overturned big rigs and clear them off the roadway.

 

State Police say a 31-year-old man is under arrest accused of killing his ex-wife and her new boyfriend in East Feliciana Parish. Trooper Bryan Lee says Eric Sanders of Norwood was apprehended without incident.

 

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s office says an HIV positive man who bit two deputies and a correctional officer has been arrested on charges of intentional exposure to the AIDS virus and battery. They say 25-year-old Justin Freeman of Lake Charles allegedly fought with arresting deputies and bit them so hard it drew blood. The man is being held with no bond.

 

A group called the Monumental Task Committee says they have collected over 31-thousand signatures from people who oppose the removal of four Confederate monuments in New Orleans. President Pierre McGraw says they want their voices heard before the city council holds a special committee meeting on Thursday that will discuss the removal of the structures.

McGraw says the M-T-C supports the instillation of interpretive plaques to help gain a better understanding of the original and current context of these monuments.

 

ULM’s committee in charge of finding a new football coach says they’ve narrowed the pool of candidates down to a handful of individuals. No names were released. Student athlete committee member Gerrand Johnson says the next coach has to have a proven winning record, provide dynamic leadership and be open to innovation. Another committee member said the next coach has to have a desire to recruit local talent.

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News For Tuesday 12/08/15


News for Tuesday 120815

By Dave Graichen

 

US Representative John Fleming officially entered next year’s US Senate race. Fleming will be seeking the seat that will soon be vacated by David Vitter. Promising  to bring conservative principals to the US Senate, Fleming says he wants to work on legislation to fight terrorism, remove Obamacare and help small businesses grow.

 

Governor-elect John Bel Edwards announces Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne as the Commissioner of Administration and Kimberly Lewis Robinson as Secretary of Revenue. Edwards says he chose Dardenne for the positon, because of his history in the legislature and knowledge on how to balance the state budget.  He says Robinson is a talented professional who understands the serious budget problems and can simplify our current tax structure.

 

DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert says her staff has met with Gov. Elect Edwards health care transition team to discuss Medicaid expansion. State Treasurer John Kennedy says it would cost about 1.5 billion dollars to add 300-thousand new people to Medicaid. He suggests  keeping the cost down by doing things like requiring a small doctor’s office co-pay. He also suggests offering incentives to folks who commit to healthier lifestyles by not smoking or losing weight.

 

Motorists continue to enjoy falling gas prices as we get further into December. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular is $1.83 according to GasBuddy.com

 

Governor Bobby Jindal will be in Shreveport today to begin a tour around the state highlighting his economic development wins during his two terms in office.  According to the governor’s office, since 2008, the state has secured economic development wins with more than 62-billion dollars in new capital investment and hundreds of millions of dollars in new sales for small businesses in Louisiana.

 

The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating a recent rash of heroin overdose deaths. Captain Dawn Foret says four recent fatal ODs are open cases. Anyone with information on these cases is urged to contact authorities.

 

The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office says a man wanted in connection with the death of his girlfriend on November 29th was arrested in Colorado. They say 27-year-old Miles Guidry was being sought on second degree murder charges in the death of 26-year-old Claire Walley. Guidry has been on the run since the victim’s body was found in Duson.

 

The state Department of Transportation and Development says the maintenance work being done on the Sunshine Bridge in St. James Parish is now complete. The project, which began in February 2014, involved cleaning, painting and performing structural repairs to the main spans of the Sunshine Bridge on LA70. DOTD spokesman Rodney Mallett says it was a $25 million dollar job.

 

Sports..

 

LSU’s Leonard Fournette was a favorite to win the Heisman Trophy before the Alabama game, but it turns out he’s not even a finalist. Fournette did not receive an invitation to be in New York City, when the Heisman will be handed out on Saturday. Coach Les Miles says the cancelling of the McNeese game hurt Fournette’s chances. Even though Fournette played one less game than scheduled, he still broke the LSU single season rushing record by compiling 1,741 yards on the ground. Miles says while Fournette is not a Heisman finalist, he still had one heck of a year.

 

While talking with reporters about the bowl match-up between LSU and Texas Tech, Head Coach Les Miles was asked if offensive coordinator Cam Cameron would return next season and Miles says he’s not contemplating any changes to his coaching staff.

 

For only the 8th time in school history, Louisiana Tech is headed to a bowl game. The Bulldogs will face Arkansas State December 19th in the R and L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. Coach Skip Holtz says the team is really excited. The game kicks off next Saturday at 8pm.

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News For Monday 12/07/15


News for Monday 120715

By Dave Graichen

 

It was no small Fete.. after a weekend of perfect “fair” weather, Alexandria city officials say they are more than pleased with the turnout for the city’s inaugural Winter Fete.  Mayor Jacques Roy says there is "no question" that Alex Winter Fête will be back next year.

City officials and other Fête organizers had predicted a turnout of about 15,000 people would visit the festival over the course of three days. That number or more was easily reached by the end of Friday.

 

A national credit reporting agency says Louisiana has several challenges ahead and much of the Jindal Administration’s plan to solve the $487 million midyear shortfall has only short term fixes. State Treasurer John Kennedy says if our state’s credit rating is lowered, tax payers will be force to dish out more when Louisiana borrows money to build roads, bridges and restore our coastline. He says Fitch ratings, at this point, believes Governor-elect John Bel Edwards and lawmakers will get the state’s fiscal house in order.

 

Governor-elect John Bel Edwards has developed a higher education transition committee to create policy recommendations on ways to improve Louisiana’s colleges and universities. CABL President Barry Erwin says part of their job will be to try to discover how they can pump more dollars out of existing funds into scholarships or grants aimed to help lower income students. He says this is a challenge because after 7 years of cuts during the Jindal administration, they are down to the bone.

 

It looks as though a pretty stiff competition is brewing in the race to be Louisiana’s next Speaker of the House. Edwards says he’s backing New Orlreans Democratic state Representative Wal Leger. A group of statewide conservatives are working hard to get support for Republican state Representative Cameron Henry to lead the lower chamber. The election occurs January 11th.

 

A jury in Ouachita Parish has given a guilty verdict to the man accused of shooting at two Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents. LDWF spokesman Adam Einck says 29-year-old Luke Hust has been convicted of two counts of attempted first degree murder and a count of illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Einck says not much of a defense was offered during the trial and Hust never took the stand.

 

With the holiday season upon us, many parents are looking for the hottest gifts to give their kids. “Hoverboards” are one of the most sought after gifts this year but these self-balancing motorized scooters have been known to burst into flames. State Fire Marshall Butch Browning says hoverboards blowing up isn’t an unusual occurrence. In November, A Lafitte resident was hurt by a fire started when the scooter was being charged. Buyers should check to make sure their items are coming from a reputable source and follow instructions when it comes to properly charging the hoverboard.

 

A longtime manager at a maritime skills development center was shot and killed by an employee in Kenner. Authorities say the suspect,50-year-old John Spears of Marrero, waited for police to arrive and arrest him. The murder happened at the Houston Marine in a strip mall at about 3:30 p.m. The victim, 49-year-old Anthony Tardo of Mandeville, worked for the business for 19 years.

 

The Baton Rouge Police Department says one of two men accused in the murders and kidnappings and murder of an couple is back in Louisiana after he was extradited back  from Florida. They say 42-year-old Ernesto Alonso is officially charged with 2 counts each of first degree murder and second degree kidnapping. His alleged accomplice, 48-year-old Frank Garcia, is still in the Florida Jail.

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has received 11 young whooping cranes to be released at White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area. Spokesperson Bo Boehringer says the population will increase to 46 with the addition of 8 females and 3 males. He says they’re working to create a flock that is able to survive in the wild.

 

A UNO Philosophy Professor has received a grant to study alternatives to incarceration. The US leads the world, on a per capita basis, in incarceration and Louisiana incarcerates more people per capita than any other state in the nation. Professor Chris Suprenant (SIR-pruh-nont) says the grant will help them study America’s approach to punishment.

 

As the holiday season is upon us, parents are looking for the hottest items for their kids. The highly sought after “hoverboard” is on the top of many children’s lists, but these self-balancing, motorized scooters have been known to burst into flames. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says in November, a Lafitte resident was harmed by a fire started from an exploding “hoverboard,” but events like this are happening all over the country. He advises buyers to read the operation manual before using the device.

 

It is official.. LSU will be  in the Texas Bowl. The Tigers will play in the Dec. 29 bowl at NRG Stadium in Houston. LSU’s opponent will be Texas Tech out of the Big 12.

 

This New Orleans Saints team is far from done fighting. But mere fight wasn’t enough against the NFL’s hottest team. Facing off against an undefeated Carolina team that clinched the NFC South before the game started, the Saints came up short in a 41-38 loss Sunday afternoon..

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News For Friday 12/04/15


News for Friday 120415

By Dave Graichen

 

The suspects in the fatal shooting of Jeremy Mardis have been terminated from the  Alexandria City Marshal’s Office. Alexandria Marshal Terrence Grines announced Thursday  that both Norris Greenhouse Jr. and Derrick Stafford have been terminated. Both men face charges of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in the Nov. 3 shooting case that happened while they were working as Marksville Ward 2 city deputy marshals. Both men also worked for the Alexandria Marshal’s office.

 

Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy and former Alexandria City Council President Chuck Fowler, wearing a Santa hat and Rudolph nose, snipped a red ribbon, signaling the official start of the inaugural Alex Winter Fete at 5 p.m. last night. The three day winter festival is taking place in downtown Alexandria. The biggest attraction for the festival is an ice skating rink, which will be open in the evenings.

 

Democrat New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu announces he’s decided not to run for US Senate in 2016 ending the speculation. Senator David Vitter said after he lost the governor’s race that he would not be seeking re-election next year.

 

The final analysis from the Center for Public Integrity finds that about $20 million dollars was spent in advertising on the governor’s race alone this year. The CPI estimates show Republican David Vitter spent the most at $4.1 million, while Governor-elect John Bel Edwards dished out $3.2 million on ads.

 

Louisiana ranks 5th for the worst drivers in the country. That’s according to the website Car-Insurance-Comparison-dot-com, who says Louisiana is the worst state when it comes to obeying traffic signals. State Police Trooper Melissa Matey says Louisiana also has a problem with drunk drivers, as 42-percent of fatal crashes are due to drinking and driving.

 

President Barack Obama has ordered that all United States flags be flown at half-staff to honor the victims of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California that claimed the lives of 14 people and injured more than a dozen. The proclamation was signed yesterday and calls for flags to remain at half-staff through Monday. The President says they still don’t know whether or not the attack was related to terrorism but it is possible

 

Governor-elect John Bel Edwards is busy putting his transition committees together. He announced the higher ed transition committee Thursday and already named Democrat Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell co-chair of a committee that combs through the state’s budget woes. Campbell says the committee members definitely have their work cut out for them.

 

LSU President F. King Alexander says the final decision on Les Miles’ coaching job wasn’t made until after halftime of the Texas A&M game according to business-report-dot-com. Alexander says the cost of the buyout and the show of public support for Miles went into the decision. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says Miles went into that game not knowing his job status. Worsham says even though Miles gets to keep his job for now, it’s likely the fate of the Mad Hatter is still in limbo because the decision was made for political reasons.

 

State Senator Troy Brown, who was arrested after last weekend’s Bayou Classic in New Orleans for allegedly punching his longtime girlfriend, has reportedly decided to step down as vice chairman of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee while his legal issues pan out. Apparently this was a mutual agreement. Brown says he can’t remember the details of what happened in the alleged attack at the New Orleans hotel.

 

LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center is studying whether active video games can help improve health, especially in overweight children. Pennington Assistant Professor Dr. Amanda Staiano says they’re launching the Game Squad study to see if some active games can get kids off the couch and moving. She says boys and girls ages 10 to 12 will be part of the study for six months.

 

Today, a state judge will hear the lawsuit seeking to reverse the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s decision to remove the Amite football team from the Class 3A playoffs following a bench clearing brawl in their quarterfinal win over Bogalusa. LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine says sportsmanship rules clearly state that players who leave the bench area during a fight are automatically suspended for the next game.

 

The Saints are a touchdown underdog heading into Sunday’s matchup with undefeated Carolina. The Saints are mired in a three-game losing streak and they are out of the playoff picture.

 

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News For Thursday 12/03/15


News for Thursday 120315

By Dave Graichen

 

Lee Rubin is the new Alexandria City Council president. Rubin was elected unanimously at Tuesday night's Council meeting. He takes over for Chuck Fowler, who had been president for three years.

 

An Alexandria businessman is in hot water after state inspectors found the was selling alcohol and cigarettes in his Lee street convenience store without any permits and licenses. Mohamad Issam Zeidan was arrested and was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center. More charges are pending.

 

Governor-elect John Bel Edwards endorses New Orleans Democrat Walt Leger as the next state Speaker of the House. Although Republicans hold a majority of state House seats, the governor has traditionally played a big role in the selection of the Speaker. Edwards believes Leger’s ability to work across the aisle will reinforce the Governor-elect’s bipartisan approach to state government. Leger currently serves as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House. Edwards takes office January 11th.

 

Governor-elect John Bel Edwards reportedly plans to issue an executive order with the intent of protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender state workers and contractors from unfair treatment and discrimination. Former Democratic Governors Edwin Edwards and Kathleen Blanco signed similar mandates to protect LGBT state workers from harassment.

 

Attorney General-elect Jeff Landry is asking employees at the Department of Justice to reapply for their jobs if they want to stay for his administration. Landry, who also takes office January 11th after defeating incumbent Buddy Caldwell, sent out a letter asking current AG office employees to submit resumes again so that everyone has a fair and equal opportunity to be considered.

 

Governor Bobby Jindal says the letter from the White House indicating the state would start getting detailed information about the Syrian refugees resettling in Louisiana, is not good enough. He says we should know about who’s coming into Louisiana before they get here, not after. Jindal is calling on Congress to stop the Obama Administration from allowing the Syrian refugee operation to continue in the United States.

 

The US Justice Department has dropped the manslaughter charges against two BP employees responsible for safety when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in 2010, killing 11 workers. They said in a statement that it could not develop a legal standard in the case which would warrant involuntary manslaughter charges.

 

Amite High is fighting the decision by the LHSAA to disqualify them from the Class 3A playoffs after an on-field altercation cleared the benches during the quarterfinal victory over Bogalusa. Rules say players who leave the bench to fight are to be suspended for the next game. Tangipahoa School system attorney Chris Moody argues players left the sidelines because the team was about to kick an extra point. A hearing has been set in the suit for Friday.

 

A report from the national Mental Health Association shows Louisiana with one of the highest occurrences of mental illness and the lowest access to care. The Bayou State ranks 47th on their 2015 list.

 

The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office says a corrections officer is facing several charges after allegedly setting up a situation where several inmates could beat up another inmate who was a witness in a previous criminal matter. They say Calvin Powell was arrested for conspiracy to Obstruction of Justice, Conspiracy to commit Intimidating, impeding or injuring witnesses and Malfeasance.

 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has unveiled new rules for catfish. The mandate requires stricter inspection standards for the product before it can be sold as food. Chad Causey with The Catfish Institute says they applaud the implementation of the program by the USDA because it’s another step in making food safer. Causey says the rule will require both US farmers and countries exporting catfish to the US to meet safety in a similar fashion to meat and poultry producers.

 

The family members of the first wife of millionaire Robert Durst, who has been in prison in New Orleans since March on weapons charges, are reportedly suing Durst for $100 million dollars. Kathleen McCormack Durst disappeared in 1982 and her family alleges Robert Durst has known where her body has been buried for more than 30 years.

 

State Police say a shooting at the Morehouse Parish Courthouse has left one man dead. Trooper Michael Reichardt says 42-year-old Keith Atkins was in court for a hearing when the incident happened. He says, during a scuffle, Atkins took a bailiff’s gun and committed suicide. It has been reported that Atkins was in jail on kidnapping and drug charges stemming from a February arrest. No one else was injured in the incident.

 

The US House is expected to vote today on a transportation bill that would provide Louisiana an additional 100-million dollars a year in federal highway dollars. Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves helped craft the legislation and he says the bill also provides states with grant opportunities to help pay for major transportation improvements in south Louisiana.

 

In this week’s issue of People magazine, actress Sandra Bullock says she adopted a 3 and a half year old Louisiana girl named Laila (pronounced Lila) who had been in foster care. Bullock, who has been involved in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina, adopted her now 5-year-old son Louis from the Big Easy in 2010. Bullock says she hopes to shine a light on the hundreds of thousands of children currently in foster care in the US.

 

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News For Tuesday 12/01/15


News for Tuesday 120115

By Dave Graichen

 

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office says a teenager came home from a hunting trip over the weekend, and discovered her step-father, mother and two young half brothers dead in an apparent murder suicide.  The deceased are identified as 46-year-old David Mata, 40-year-old Kelli Mata and their children 4-year-old Caden and 2-year-old Liam. He says cops arrived and discovered the family dead from apparent stab wounds in the living room, and their children in separate bedrooms lying in bed, also pronounced dead from apparent stab wounds. Authorities believe David Mata killed his wife and their kids before taking his own life.

 

Monday marked  the end of the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane season and it was a good one for Louisiana with no storms threatening the state. State Climatologist Barry Keim says forecasters were pretty accurate with their predictions this season. He says there were 11 named storms this hurricane season, one below the long term average. Four of those storms became hurricanes, two major hurricanes, but none threatened to make landfall in the United States. Keim says you can thank wind shear created by El Nino for that.

 

LSU Coach Les Miles gets to keep his job even after it was widely speculated that this past Saturday would be his last game in Tiger Stadium. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham believes LSU President F King Alexander stepped in because it would look bad to the legislature if they paid the $15 million dollars to buy Miles out of his contract. Some are now calling for athletic director Joe Alleva to be fired for mishandling this situation. There are still questions whether offensive coordinator Cam Cameron will return. His contract is set to expire after the bowl game.  

 

After a brief suspension, the Louisiana Department of Revenue’s 2015 Louisiana Tax Amnesty gets underway today. Deputy Secretary Jarrod Coniglio (ca-nig-lee-oh) says this is the final amnesty period for at least 10 years. He says the delay was prompted by a mistake with the information included in some of the original invitation letters sent out in early November. The amnesty will run through December 31st. Coniglio says their goal is to raise $50 million during the amnesty period.

 

The New Orleans Police Department says Napoleonville State Senator Troy Brown was arrested over the weekend for allegedly punching a woman in the face. They say the alleged battery occurred following the Bayou Classic at a New Orleans hotel as the victim waited for an elevator. Brown has stated he does not remember what happened, but he is very remorseful about the situation.

 

The American Automobile Association of Louisiana says the plunging prices at the pump have the state moving into a direction that could bring them to their lowest since 2008. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular is about $1.86. AAA fuel analyst Don Redman says we might reach a low point this month that we haven’t seen in nearly 7 years.

 

State police say they worked four fatal crashes over the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend that resulted in ten fatalities. The youngest victim was a two month old infant from Baton Rouge, while the oldest was an 87-year-old man from Ville Platte. 

 

Some Forest Hill residents are under a boil advisory after a main water line break. The advisory is for residents on U.S. Highway 165 at Fish Hatchery Road to Booker Fowler Road, and on Fish Hatchery Road back to U.S. 165. Other roads included are Amite, Squires, Smith and Chinquapin roads. During the advisory, residents should boil water for one minute in a clean container.

 

Authorities on Monday were still searching for a Lafayette man accused of killing his girlfriend at a home in Duson over the weekend. 28 year old Miles Guidry is wanted on second-degree murder in the death of 26 year old Claire Christine Walley according to the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office. Walley’s body was found Sunday morning inside a home along with her unharmed infant. Detectives are following leads but have not found a trace of Guidry since the killing, despite reports his car had been found abandoned in Lake Charles.

 

 

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News For Wednesday 12/02/15


News for Wednesday 120215

By Dave Graichen

 

After some unseasonably warm temperatures over the Thanksgiving holiday, cooler temperatures are in store for the Bayou State. State Climatologist Barry Keim says a cold front moved through the state Tuesday, bringing cooler air for the next few days. He says some areas of the state will see low temperatures in the 30s for the next couple of days. Good new, the weather should be perfect for Alexandria’s Winterfete.

 

Today begins a three day qualifying period for candidates to sign up and get on the ballot for Louisiana’s March 5th Presidential Primary Election. Political Analyst Clancy Dubois says since Louisiana’s presidential primary falls a few days after “Super Tuesday,” Louisiana will not have a strong say on who the parties will nominate.

 

A recent survey on US Senators in Louisiana shows both David Vitter and Bill Cassidy have approval ratings just in the mid 40s. Vitter has announced that he will not seek re-election next year which will make Cassidy Louisiana’s senior senator. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says this seriously damages Louisiana’s power in the Senate. Cassidy is finishing just his first year in the upper chamber.

 

Governor Bobby Jindal received a letter from the White House giving detailed information regarding the Syrian refugees that are being resettled in Louisiana. The letter indicates the federal government would be giving monthly reports about those escaping the Syrian civil war, their nationality, age ranges and gender. Additionally, the Chief of Staff says the federal government’s vetting of refugees is “the most robust screening process for anyone coming into the US. They say a password protected website will be providing information to governors with refugees entering their state.

 

Richland Parish Congressman Ralph Abraham is back in Louisiana after spending his Thanksgiving holiday with American soldiers in Afghanistan. He says their goal there is to give Afghanistan the democratic type of government that they want. He says it likely won’t entail all the freedoms we see in America, but it will better the country’s current status. He says soldiers are optimistic about their mission.

 

After a dip in ratings, A&E announces that Duck Dynasty and the West Monroe Robertsons will be back for another season beginning in January. The website doesn’t give an exact date or preview videos, but simply says season 9 will premiere next month. Duck Dynasty Nielson ratings still indicate the show has a dedicated following with over 1 million viewers on average each week.

 

Governor-elect John Bel Edwards tells the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus that funding for higher education will be a top priority of his administration. He says it’s imperative that the state’s general fund component for higher education is increased. Edwards, who spoke during the Bayou Classic Jazz Brunch, will be sworn in on January 11th.

 

Republican Governor Bobby Jindal and Democrat Governor-elect John Bel Edwards met at the governor’s mansion for about an hour yesterday to discuss transition as Edwards is set to be sworn in on January 11th. Edwards says Jindal has been cooperating with the transition ever since election night…

 

There is a sad story out of Calcasieu Parish. The Sherriff’s office says they responded to an accidental death at Black Bayou Bridge. They say DOTD contacted deputies because they were unable to reach the bridge operator, 58-year-old Dorothy Carter, by phone. Responders discovered Carter dead inside the control tower. It  appears her clothing became stuck in the bridge motor mechanism  and she was unable to free herself. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

Sports 

 

We’ll find out this weekend which bowl game LSU will play in this year. Jerry Palm makes bowl projections for cbs-sports-dot-com and Palm says LSU could play in a bowl game in Florida or the Texas Bowl in Houston, but it’s hard to predict because the league office has a big say on bowl assignments. Palm says Louisiana Tech could play in the R-and-L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. He says Southern Miss could be the other option from Conference USA to play a school from the Sun Belt…

 

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