News for Wednesday 113016
By Dave Graichen
Gov. John Bel Edwards will be the keynote speaker at this year's Central Louisiana Regional Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. The 103rd Annual Meeting is Wednesday, Dec. 14 at the Holiday Inn Downtown Alexandria. Lunch will be served at 11:00 a.m. and the program will begin at 11:30 a.m. for ticket info contact the chamber.
Lawyers for Louisiana’s governor and attorney general clashed in court Tuesday, in a struggle about the limits of the statewide elected officials’ authority and Gov. John Bel Edwards’ executive order aimed at protecting LGBT rights. Baton Rouge Judge Todd Hernandez heard a full day of witness testimony and legal arguments in the latest in a series of disputes between the Democratic Gov. Edwards and Republican Attorney Jeff Landry. In the end though, the judge made no decision. Instead, Hernandez asked for follow-up written arguments by Friday and said he would make a decision quickly thereafter. The full story is in today’s Town Talk.
Pineville PD have arrested 33 year old Justin Perkins after he allegedly battered a woman and then followed her to another location to continue the abuse. Perkins remains in the Rapides Parish Detention Center on charges of domestic abuse by strangulation, domestic abuse aggravated assault and domestic abuse battery.
Walgreens Pharmacy has made Naloxone, an opioid antidote, available over the counter in Louisiana. LSU Health New Orleans Professor of Psychiatry James Becnel says there is an opioid overdose every 18 hours in Louisiana. He says not only addicts, but anyone who has an opioid prescription for more than two weeks should purchase naloxone. Becnel says the response from EMS is usually not quick enough, so having naloxone on hand could save someone from dying of an overdose.
The AARP Foundation announces one million dollars in donations are being used to assist older individuals impacted by the devastating August flood. Director of AARP Louisiana, Denise Bottcher, says the money went to 16 non-profit organizations who are assisting in the rebuilding efforts. Bottcher says over 74-hundred donors provided money to help older flood victims get back in their homes.
It looks like former Governor Bobby Jindal will not head the Department of Health and Human Services as sources say President-elect Trump has selected Georgia US Representative Tom Price. Jindal was rumored to be on a list of those under consideration for the cabinet position. During his own failed presidential campaign, the former governor made several critical statements of Mr. Trump including calling him a narcissist egomaniac.
The chairman of the Tulane Earth and Environmental Sciences Department says the implications for coastal Louisiana would likely be devastating if President-elect Donald Trump takes the United States out of a climate change agreement. Tor Tornqvist says if the US doesn’t reduce greenhouse gases, sea levels will rise and swallow Louisiana’s coast. Based on previous statements, Mr. Trump has expressed skepticism about global warming caused by humans.
An agreement has been made in a lawsuit accusing Baton Rouge law enforcement of violating the civil rights of people protesting the death of Alton Sterling who was killed during a struggle with officers. The suit said protesters were physically abused and wrongfully arrested. Louisiana ACLU Executive Director Marjorie Esman says they were not seeking monetary damages in this suit. Esman says this agreement simply assures that citizens’ rights are respected moving forward.
LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center is looking for people to take part in a groundbreaking study that looks at ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Director for Pennington’s Institute for Dementia Research and Prevention, Jeff Keller, says they are looking at how something like hypertension can cause impairment of brain function. Keller says Alzheimer’s is a complex disease without a cure or any new treatments, and this study aims to figure out which combination of medications and lifestyle changes may help people best avoid the disease.
One person was killed in a crash involving a swamp tour airboat in LaFourche Parish. State wildlife and fisheries spokesperson Adam Einck says the airboat hit a mud boat driver near a bend in the waterway and the mudboat driver was not wearing a life jacket and was killed.
Metal detectors are one possible idea to preventing future fatal shootings on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Owner of L and R Security Services Inc., Edward Robinson, says it would be tough to do logistically and expensive. He says a lot of planning would need to take place between police and the businesses along the famous street. L and R Security handles checkpoints for various events including Jazz Fest and LSU football games. Robinson says aside from costs, another factor to installing metal detectors is if businesses want to go along with it, as well.
News for Tuesday 112916
By Dave Graichen
Voter turnout was low on the first day of early voting for the runoff, and it doesn’t look like it will improve much by December 10. John Couvillon with JMC Analytics says 27-percent of blacks turned out on the first day of early voting for the presidential race, compared to 19-percent on Saturday. Couvillon expects overall turnout will be between 17 and 35-percent. Early voting continues through Saturday.
Early voting for the December 10th runoff is underway, and Louisiana’s US Senate race is drawing national attention. Democrat Foster Campbell says he has drawn support from all over the US, as the party’s last hope for closing the Republican majority in the Upper Chamber.
Campbell made his comments at the Baton Rouge Press Club. His opponent, Republican Treasurer John Kennedy declined to attend.
Governor John Bel Edwards is hoping the death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro will lead to more trade with the island nation. Edwards, who led a trade mission to Cuba in October, doesn’t expect any changes over night, but hopes Louisiana can return to being a major trade partner. Edwards says if relations with Cuba are restored, it would be good for the state’s rice industry. He says the rice consumption in Cuba per capita is 144 pounds per year.
After a weekend shooting that left one man dead and several others injured on Bourbon Street last weekend, New Orleans officials are exploring ways to make the streets. NOPD Chief Michael Harrison says metal detectors are used on Beale Street in Memphis, and that’s not being ruled out for the Big Easy.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is concerned about tourism dropping in New Orleans after the fatal shooting on Bourbon Street last weekend. Nungesser says every negative story impacts a city because people have to feel safe to come here. Nungesser says there are too many criminals walking around because too often these people are in and out of jail. He says something needs to be done to keep dangerous offenders behind bars.
Two people are dead and several injured following a shootout in Baton Rouge. State Police Col. Mike Edmonson says Sunday night police responded to a shooting. He says 48-year-old Terrell Walker allegedly shot his girlfriend, 30-year-old April Peck, multiple times while sitting in a car and then pushed her out of the vehicle. Edmsonson says Walker was eventually killed during a shootout with East Baton Rouge Sheriff deputies.
A Baton Rouge woman is behind bars after she pulled a knife on her husband and then struck him with a Thanksgiving turkey. Sgt. Don Coppola with Baton Rouge Police says 32-year-old Helen Jackson and her husband were arguing when gave him the bird, literally. Jackson is charged with aggravated assault and domestic abuse battery.
Louisiana ranks number one in the nation for the best anti-trafficking laws, according to the nonprofit organization Shared Hope International. Franklinton Senator Beth Mizell, who serves on the state’s Human Trafficking Study Commission, says while this is a step in the right direction, more needs to be done to help the victims. Mizell says the first thing we have to do is make sure these victims aren’t treated as delinquents and pushed into the criminal justice system.
LSU will find out its bowl game destination on Sunday, but it’s difficult to figure where the Tigers will go. That’s because eight teams in the SEC have either seven or eight wins. Jerry Palm, from on CBS-Sports-dot-com, says his best guest for LSU is either the Outback Bowl in Tampa or the Taxslayer Bowl in Jacksonville. LSU was in the Texas Bowl last year and easily defeated Texas Tech 56-27.
This Saturday, Louisiana Tech plays in the Conference USA Championship game against Western Kentucky. If the Bulldogs win they’ll play in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, a loss will send them to the New Orleans Bowl.
News For Monday 112816
By Dave Graichen
Cenla Broadcasting notes the passing of Joy Nalty Hodges late last week. As well as being active in the business community, Hodges devoted her time to a wide range of philanthropic endeavors. The Junior League of Alexandria, the Alexandria Museum of Art, the United Way of Central Louisiana, the YWCA and the Christus St. Frances Cabrini Foundation, just to name a few.. Funeral services and internment will be in New Orleans Saturday. Locally, Hodges' life will be celebrated Friday at St. Frances Cabrini Church with a 9:30 a.m. visitation and a 10 a.m. mass. Joy Hodges was 86.
Early voting is underway and Election Day is less than two weeks away, so candidates are campaigning in full swing. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says now is the time for a dash to the finish line. But he says the US Senate and two Congressional elections have been relatively quiet. However, Cross says the race for the 3rd Congressional district seat is really heating up between the two Republicans, Scott Angelle and Clay Higgins.
The Louisiana Department of Insurance is urging families to compare rates for auto and homeowners insurance to get the best protection. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says a home and car are the biggest investments people make. The “shop your rates tool” on their website will provide people information on the different types of coverage and what is included and what isn’t. He says the tool will determine the cost of your policy by adding up different factors. The website.. L-D-I-dot-L-A-dot-gov (ldi.la.gov)
New stats out are startling. The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services says Louisiana’s rate of newborns born with drugs and alcohol in their system has tripled over the last 8 years. Regional Administrator for Child Welfare, Denise Evans, says more than 15-hundred babies were born exposed to drugs or alcohol in 2015. She says this causes many health problems for the infant. There were just 569 cases of drug addicted newborns in 2008. Evans says they saw the biggest increase in the use of heroin, marijuana, and prescription drugs.
A shooting rampage early Sunday morning In New Orleans left one person dead and nine others injured. The city was packed with party goers intown for the Bayou Classic. The NOPD reports none of the 10 victims appear to be the shooters' intended targets. Of the 10, one man has died; four people are in still hospitalized, but expected to fully recover; five others have been released from the hospital.
Louisiana State Police is reminding hunters to watch where they leave their vehicles or they could be ticketed. LSP says many hunters park their trucks alongside the trees on the side of the highway because it’s easier access to their land but when motorists see cars on the side of the road they often think someone needs help and it becomes a hazard. Parking on the side of a state or federal road is against the law.
The LSU coaching staff is hitting the recruiting trail this week now that they know Ed Orgeron is the permanent head coach. Orgeron says he understands and invites the expectations at LSU and that’s why he wants to build a championship program fast and has a vision to do so.
For Orgeron to be successful, he’ll have to recruit well and he’s already considered one of the best recruiters in college football.
The Saints offense was nearly unstoppable Sunday as New Orleans kept its playoff hopes alive with a 49-21 win over the Los Angeles Rams. The Black and Gold had 555 total yards, 346 through the air, 209 on the ground on 32 rush attempts. Quarterback Drew Brees threw for 310 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Mark Ingram rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown, while rookie receiver Michael Thomas had 9 catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns.
News for Wednesday 112316
By Dave Graichen
State auditors are trying to find out where $25 million in the Attorney General’s escrow fund has gone. AG Jeff Landry blames his predecessor’s poor record keeping for why his office can’t account for 28 transactions. But Beth Davis with the legislative auditor’s office says the transactions took place over the span of two fiscal years, six months of which were under Landry’s administration. Davis says the fund contains money from court settlements, fines, and other penalties.
The December 2 US Senate candidate debate has been cancelled after the two candidates heading to the runoff couldn’t agree whether or not to hold the televised debate in front of a live audience. Republican John Kennedy reportedly did not want a live audience present, while Democrat Foster Campbell did. It looks like voters won’t get to hear from the candidates again before the December 10 runoff.
The Louisiana State University System announced Tuesday their search was over and that Guiyou Huang has been named the next chancellor of LSU of Alexandria. He steps into the new role Jan. 1. The 54 year old Huang currently is the senior vice president for academic affairs, dean of the faculty and professor of English at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont.
The Thanksgiving 2016 AAA travel projections forecast that 48.7 million Americans will be traveling for the holiday, a nearly 2% increase over last year. AAA Spokesman Don Redman says they haven’t seen numbers this good since Thanksgiving 2007. The Thanksgiving Holiday travel period is defined as today through Sunday.
As Louisiana families prepare to cook their Thanksgiving feasts, Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain has safety tips for home chefs. Strain cooks should make sure the turkey is fully defrosted before it goes in the oven. But he says it’s important not to wash the turkey before cooking. Splashing water can contaminate the kitchen. Strain says it will take 24 hours for every five pounds of weight for a turkey to safely defrost in the refrigerator. If defrosting in cold water, he says people should change the water every 30 minutes. He says the only way to determine if a turkey is fully cooked is with a meat thermometer.
The White House has urged Congress to award Louisiana with a 3.1 billion dollar disaster assistance package to help Louisiana flood victims. Congress will consider the President’s request after the Thanksgiving holiday. U.S. Representative Garret Graves of Baton Rouge says Louisiana’s Congressional delegation continues to lobby federal lawmakers about the need for assistance. Graves says this money is badly needed, because what FEMA has provided so far has been inadequate.
A Monroe couple has donated 90 armored vests to State Police Troop F in Monroe. Bunzy Bryant and his wife Lynn have been friends with the troop for 16 years. Bryant says he considers the troopers family and wants to keep them safe. The high velocity vests even protect against AK-47.
One man is dead and a woman injured after they were hit by an 81-year-old trucker around 1am on I-10 near Henderson. State Police Master Trooper Brooks David says 25-year-old Vineeth Keesara of Lafayette was pushing a disabled U-Haul trailer out of the road when they were struck. Keesara was pronounced dead at the scene.
LSU’s Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity has indefinitely suspended operations amid allegations of sexual assault at an event last weekend. LSU police say a female reported she was sexually assaulted by an unknown male early Saturday morning during the fraternity’s “PIKE’s Peak” event in the back yard of the frat house, and the alleged victim is not an LSU student. No arrests have been reported in the incident.
He was a model officer, or so they thought. The New Orleans Police Department says a 19-year veteran of the force was allegedly a sexual predator for years. Marcellus won an Angel Award for helping underprivileged kids. White faces numerous charges including first degree rape, second degree rap and false imprisonment. His bail has been set for over 2 million dollars.
UL-Lafayette Athletic Director Scott Farmer announced yesterday that he is stepping down from the position he has served for the past 5 years. He will move to a teaching position at the university. Deputy Director of Athletics Dr. Jessica Leger will serve as an interim while the school conducts a national search for a full time AD.
The festivities for the 43rd Annual Bayou Classic are already underway. Grambling State and Southern, who are undefeated in the SWAC , will go head to head this Saturday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Bayou Classic spokesperson Angela Young says today they’ll celebrate in Joe Brown Park in New Orleans. Friday, a Career and College Expo will be held at Hyatt Regency to give students the chance to apply and interview for jobs, before the Greek Show and the Battle of the Bands later that day. Young says tickets are going fast, as they’ve already sold over 40-thousand tickets to the game.
News for Tuesday 112216
By Dave Graichen
Improving race relations was the topic of a roundtable discussion Monday morning in Baton Rouge. Governor John Bel Edwards called the meeting of state and community leaders and says they want to meet with kids in schools to educate youth about interacting with police.
Edwards says they also want to teach people in driver’s ed how to respond if they get pulled over. State Police Col. Mike Edmonson says resolving problems in the communities is about having an open dialogue. He says we need ongoing conversations about ways to improve relations, and that starts with listening. Edmonson says they are also looking at ways to improve police training.
State fire officials say no working smoke detectors were found in the home of a Mansfield man who was killed in an early morning blaze Monday. 49 year old Timothy Lee was found by firefighters after the fire, which caused extensive damage to the home, was extinguished.
The investigation also continues into a fire that destroyed much of a Bunkie church on Sunday. The Blaze started around 10pm. The sanctuary, fellowship hall and kitchen, offices and scout room at David Haas Memorial Methodist were a total loss. The fire is being investigated by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
State Fire Marshal Butch Browning announces the statewide burn ban has been lifted. Browning thanks residents for their attention to the ban. He says many fires were prevented and thus lives and property saved. The public is still encouraged to use caution when outdoor burning. Browning adds burning will still be subject to state and local laws and regulations. Burn bans in Grant and Avoyelles Parishes continues.
It looks like most people will be doing their Christmas shopping online this year. Executive Director of the Louisiana Retailers Association, Dawn Johnson, says a lot of shoppers go into the store, get information from employees, then order online. The survey found 50-percent of respondents admitted to showrooming
It’s Bayou Classic week and a large crowd is expected for the annual football game between Grambling and Southern, which is played at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Over 40-thousand tickets have been sold, which is 13-thousand more than last year at this time.
The Humane Society of Louisiana is concerned about the high number of complaints they’re receiving about owners neglecting horses. Director Jeff Dorson says there have been several owners who have been cited for cruelty. Dorson says if you can’t afford to take care of a horse, please don’t get into the business and if you’re in over your head, reach out to the humane society. He says the problem is there is a surplus of horses in rural areas. Dorson says it takes about 15-hundred dollars minimum annually to feed and care for a horse. He urges the public to help with the effort to stop horses from being neglected.
There is a heightened awareness among law enforcement for potential protests once the U.S. Justice Department announces its results of its investigation into the shooting of Alton Sterling. The 37-year-old black man was fatally shot in July after a scuffle with two white Baton Rouge police officers. Police Chief Carl Dabadie says they are working on a plan to deal with protests with as little aggression as possible. After Sterling was shot on July 5th, numerous protests erupted and over 200 people were arrested.
A number of Louisiana Republicans have had their names tossed around as potentially working in President-elect Donald Trump’s administration. Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com says Trump’s campaign team in Louisiana is putting names together and sending them to the transition team. Alford says Congressman Charles Boustany’s name has been mentioned to be chief U.S. trade negotiator under the Trump administration. He says there are a lot of positions that need to be filled, but it’s up in the air who will actually be selected to be part of the cabinet..
Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser announces the Beauregard Parish Gothic Jail in DeRidder is now open for tours. The Gothic Jail will be the crown jewel of Louisiana’s Myths and Legends Scenic Byway, which is intended to give visitors a reason to visit some of Louisiana’s back roads. Nungesser says over 40-thousand dollars was raised at the Gothic Jail After Dark Fundraiser on Halloween to complete the renovations. More information about Louisiana’s Myth and Legends Scenic Byway can be found at LouisianaByways.com.
There was widespread shore loss as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to a USGS-NASA study. Research oceanographer Elijah Ramsey says this is an important study and should not be a onetime thing. He says the spill also caused wetland fragmentation. The study found that the treatment some areas received after the spill was not helpful.
Ed Orgeron could be coaching his final game for the LSU Tigers this Thursday night against Texas A&M. There’s no doubt the Louisiana native would love to be the head coach for the Tigers for many years to come. But he says his priority is to make sure the team is ready to play the Aggies. LSU is coming off a tough 16-10 loss to Florida and there’s speculation the Tigers will make a push for Florida State Head Coach Jim Fisher, once the Seminoles regular season ends on Saturday night.
After a bye week, Louisiana Tech is ramping up their preparations for the regular season finale on Friday against Southern Miss. Last year, Southern Miss thumped the Bulldogs on their home field, 58-24. Bulldogs wide receiver Trent Taylor says they would like to return the favor and win big in Hattiesburg.
News for Monday 112116
By Dave Graichen
Dale Genius passed away Saturday. Dale was an interesting man of many talents. He was known to many as a newsman. In the early days on KSYL 970. Dale also worked in TV news at both KALB and KLAX. Genius became the director of the Louisiana History Museum in 2004, and he poured himself into preserving Alexandria's history. Visitation will be held at this evening at John Kramer & Son Funeral Home on Masonic Drive in Alexandria, from 4 to 8 p.m. and tomorrow from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the funeral home. Dale Genius was 77.
A Rapides Parish judge has denied bail for the former Monroe TV personality, Mr. Wonder due to the severity of his crimes. Frank Selas III fled the state after allegedly sexually assaulting multiple children nearly 40 years ago. The 77-year-old was caught in California in January and extradited back to Louisiana. Selas has been charged with multiple counts of aggravated rape and sexual battery among other charges and he’s pleaded not guilty to all.
Governor John Bel Edwards has delayed an 18-million dollar cut to higher education as part of his plan to eliminate a 313 million dollar budget shortfall. The decision was made by the governor after lawmakers expressed concerns at a budget meeting regarding additional funding cuts to public colleges. Monroe Representative Katrina Jackson asks for another month to determine if there are other ways to cut the budget. The Revenue Estimating Conference meets again December, and there’s a chance the state’s budget shortfall could increase by then. New Orleans Senator JP Morrel says by putting this cut off until next month, the ball is now in the legislature’s court.
The Restore Louisiana Task Force passed a resolution unanimously recommending low income and the disabled be the first to receive the first round of the state’s 438 million dollars of disaster assistance. The task force suggests sending their flood assistance plan to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and HUD could issue spending requirements by as early as next week.
The Louisiana Farm Bureau finds the cost of a Thanksgiving meal will be below the national average this year. The average price for a Thanksgiving dinner in Louisiana $49.79, which is slightly less than the national average.
A survey from a national polling firm on the 2016 runoffs in Louisiana predicts winners. Pollster Robert Cahaly with the Trafalgar Group says Republican John Kennedy leads Foster Campbell in the Trafalgar poll 58 to 35-percent. Cahaly says the 3rd Congressional District race he’s got Higgins leading Angelle 49 to 42-percent.
Governor John Bel Edwards was elected into office one year ago today. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says the governor has had quite the year. He says he’s had some successes, including the approval of higher sales tax that prevented the state from bigger budget cuts.
Pinsonat says Edwards will likely be dealing with budget issues for the remainder of his years in office. He says despite budget problems, civil unrest from a police shooting and devastating flooding, the governor’s approval rating is high
The Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights is officially underway across Louisiana. Executive Director of the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau, Lynn Doresy, says multiple festivals are held in Alexandria-Pineville, Monroe-West Monroe, Shreveport-Bossier, Minden and Natchitoches. For more information about festivals throughout north Louisiana, go to HolidayTrailOfLights.com.
LSU scientists have found the first evidence of Deepwater Horizon oil in a land animal—the Seaside Sparrow. LSU School of Renewable Natural Resources Professor Phillip Stouffer says they believe the oil got into the birds’ system, because they are feeding off the marsh and the oil is trapped in the marsh. Researchers also found that the direct exposure to the oil could be damaging the birds’ reproductive systems.
LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva sent out a letter describing what qualities he’s looking for in a new head football coach. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says Alleva might’ve issued this letter because he’s tired of hearing a lot of misinformation and speculation that’s circling. He says in one week the full blown search for a new coach will be on as LSU’s regular season will be officially over. After a disappointing 16-10 loss to Florida on Saturday, interim head coach Ed Orgeron’s chances of keeping the job on a permanent basis seem to be dwindling.
News for Friday 111816
By Dave Graichen
Get ready for a big change in the weather. State climatologist Barry Keim says a significant cold front is sweeping over the state today, which will usher in much colder air. He says tomorrow is expected to be cool and breezy, with temperatures dropping even more by the end of the weekend. Keim says the kickoff temperature for LSU is expected to be 59 degrees. He says Saturday will be one of coldest days we’ve experienced in quite a while.
Governor John Bel Edwards has released a statement on the state’s $313 million budget shortfall yesterday. The governor says Louisiana is still recovering from years of mismanagement, and unfortunately our options are limited. He says they are working with government agencies to prepare for more cuts. He says if lawmakers can work together in the next session, Louisiana will be in a strong financial position in the future.
Public colleges in Louisiana will have to absorb an 18-million dollar cut in state funding for this fiscal year. It’s part of Governor John Bel Edwards plan to reduce a 315-million dollar deficit. The governor is also proposing to delay 152 million dollars in payments to health care providers who care for Medicaid patients.
There are statewide gains in student achievement, according to the Louisiana Department of Education’s annual school report cards. But Superintendent John White says at the same time there are challenges the school grading system doesn’t reveal. He says the system doesn’t fully reflect the gains made by many schools that are making progress. The report finds the number of schools receiving A grades has increased to 16, up from 10 last year. More Rapides Schools earned A and B letter grades, helping move up the district's overall performance score by several points.
The Restore Louisiana Taskforce meets today to discuss how they will distribute the first round of federal disaster aid for flood victims. Congress approved 438 million dollars worth of assistance for Louisiana. The governor’s deputy chief of staff, Julie Baxter Payer, says unfortunately this first sum of cash from Congress is not enough to help all homeowners and businesses who experienced flood damage. She says the state wants to first provide relief for those, who are most at risk of losing their home due to lack of immediate resources. Payer says they still anticipate that Congress will approve another round of federal aid before the end of the year to help all flood victims.
Republicans in Congress are looking forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Jefferson Parish says one of their top priorities will be to replace the Affordable Care Act. He says GOP leaders in Congress have a bill that takes out provisions from Obamacare that are raising costs and hurting healthcare. Scalise says they also want to work on a strong border security bill, as well as go after radical Islamic terrorists. He says the GOP also wants to work to halt the flood of illegal immigrants into the U.S. because right now there’s no enforcement of the border.
The Baton Rouge Police Department arrested a mother for allegedly trying to kill her 8-year-old son by slitting his throat. Cpl. L’Jean McKneely says 40-year-old Gloria Ross’ two other children and the victim were able to escape and call 911. He says when Ross was questioned she told investigators she had a reason. She told officers Jesus told her to kill the boy.
The victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The West Monroe Robertsons say they are hanging up their reality show Duck Dynasty following this final season and 130 episodes. The family says it was a joint decision by them and A&E.
Surveys by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries find there are over twice as many ducks in Louisiana as there were at this time last year. State waterfowl study leader Larry Reynolds says they really aren’t sure why there are so many more ducks this year.
Reynolds says based on their flyovers, they estimated there’s three-million ducks in the state, which is almost two million more than their November 2016 projection.
Entergy Louisiana says it intends to break ground in August on a new $869 million dollar power station in St. Charles Parish, in an effort to increase power supply for the growing market. The electricity provider has been given the green light by the Public Service Commission to build the natural gas-fired power plant about 30 miles from New Orleans.
There was no Powerball jackpot winner on Wednesday, so the jackpot for Saturday’s drawing has now soared to $320 million dollars with a cash option of $202 million.
News for Thursday 111716
By Dave Graichen
TOPS recipients will be responsible for more than half of their spring tuition, and state leaders are arguing about who’s to blame. House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry said the governor was more concerned about funding other priorities, like private-public hospitals. But Governor John Bel Edwards said on his monthly call-in radio show that funding TOPS was and still is a top priority for him. Edwards says when he presents the proposed budget for next fiscal year to legislators in early 2017, the popular scholarship program will be fully funded.
UNO and Northwestern State say they will cover the TOPS shortfall for students at their universities that have been told they’ll have to pay for 60-percent of their tuition next semester. Northwestern president Jim Henderson says many universities are doing what they can to help TOPS students. Henderson says about 21-hundred students at NSU are on TOPS.
The Town Talk Reports the company that owns the property for a proposed aluminum mill in Pineville has agreed to pay its creditors within the next few weeks to resolve a petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Attorneys representing Revolution Aluminum LLC and its subsidiary, Revolution Aluminum Propco LLC, and creditors owed several million dollars agreed in Bankruptcy Court Wednesday to dismiss a petition to force Propco into involuntary bankruptcy, provided creditors are paid before a Dec. 14 hearing. The creditors listed in the petition are owed about $6.6 million. The full story is in today’s Town Talk.
Wounded East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Tullier was transported to a rehab hospital in Texas. Tullier was one of several officers shot during the deadly police ambush in July. He spent nearly four months at Our Lady of the Lake. Based on reports from the family, Tullier can move his toes and hands and open one of his eyes.
The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry along with other organizations will hold a summit in Baton Rouge today on criminal justice reform. LABI President Stephen Waguespack says the goal of the forum is to find ways to reduce Louisiana’s incarceration rate, which is the highest in the world per capita. Waguespack says criminal justice reform can save the state millions of dollars, as well as improve public safety and the lives of those incarcerated after their release. He says they’ll hear from experts on the issue, and they’ll also get ideas from other states that have effectively made similar reforms.
A Minnesota police officer has been charged with second degree manslaughter after shooting Philando Castile. That shooting happened the same week Alton Sterling was killed during a confrontation with two white police officers. Legal analyst Tim Meche says don’t expect the federal investigation into the Sterling case to be resolved anytime soon. He says there is a five year statute of limitations, so they are in no rush to come to a conclusion.
A 23-year-old Baton Rouge mother has been arrested after her one-year-old daughter was accidentally shot in the face by her two-year-old son. Authorities say Crystal Kinchen was charged with second degree cruelty to a juvenile for leaving the children alone in the car. The infant is still hospitalized.
A New Orleans teacher pleads guilty to giving two students pot brownies. Police say they found out when a student became ill and a family member told the school Camille Brennan had given the student a brownie laced with marijuana. Brennan also confessed to asking the students to lie about it and destroying their written statements.
There’s been a lot of reaction on social media to the name change of New Orleans Triple-A baseball team. The New Orleans Zephyrs are now the New Orleans Baby Cakes and the team’s general manager Cookie Rojas is happy the new nickname has drawn a ton of interest.
Rojas adds the King Cake with the baby inside helped them develop the new name.
After a difficult loss to Denver on Sunday, the Saints return to game action tonight with a Thursday night match-up with NFC South rival Carolina. New Orleans Quarterback Drew Brees says it’s a challenge to prepare for a game on a short week, but they are looking to get the bad taste out of their month from last Sunday’s heart breaking loss. The Saints beat Carolina 41-38 earlier this season.
news for Wednesday 111516
By Dave Graichen
LOUISIANA WILL EXPERIENCE SOME ROLLERCOASTER TEMPERATURES THIS WEEK. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM SAYS WE’LL SEE HIGH TEMPERATURES IN THE 80S ACROSS THE STATE OVER THE NEXT TWO DAYS BUT A SIGNIFICANT COLD FRONT WILL COME IN ON FRIDAY. KEIM SAYS SATURDAY WILL BE RELATIVELY COOL AND BREEZY, WITH TEMPERATURES IN THE 50S IN THE MORNING AND REACHING THE MID 60S IN THE AFTERNOON.
the alexandria city council yesterday introduced an ordinance that authorizes city officials to research further how much it would cost to assume ownership of the old weise and goldring building downtown. the building at the corner of desoto and 3rd street has been vacant since the early 1990’s. the current owner of the building has been ordered to EITHER DEMOLISH THE BUILDING OR FIX THE ISSUES MAKING IT UNSAFE. he has offered to give the building to the city, but many believe it could be an expensive ACQUISITION for the city.
College students who have TOPS are looking at paying for 60-percent of their tuition for the spring semester. Governor John Bel Edwards expressed his disappointment that young adults are facing this kind of cost to get an education. Edwards says it’s his hope the state can allocate more dollars to the popular scholarship program next year.
Caroline Fayard has endorsed Foster Campbell in the US Senate runoff, but whether or not that will help him win the race remains to be seen. UL-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says even though Louisiana voters elected a Democrat as governor last year, it doesn’t seem likely. Campbell will be on the ballot with Republican John Kennedy on December 10.
FEMA announces they will continue to pay for hotel rooms for displaced flood victims through December 18th. More than 2-thousand families are using this federal assistance to live at a hotel.
SOME LAWMAKERS ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THE OFFICE OF MOTOR VEHICLES DECISION TO STOP ACCEPTING CASH AS A FORM OF PAYMENT. OMV COMMISSIONER KAREN ST. GERMAIN SAYS A MAJOR REASON WHY THE OMV WILL NOT LONGER ACCEPT CASH IS THAT IT will SAVE THE STATE 500-THOUSAND DOLLARS. St. Germain says it COSTS MONEY TO HANDLE and transport the cash. JONESBORO SENATOR JIM FANNIN SAYS MANY SENIOR CITIZENS DO NOT HAVE CREDIT CARDS. he says he has received several complaints.
CSRA HAS OPENED A NEW INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGY CENTER IN BOSSIER CITY, WHICH IS GOOD NEWS FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN NORTHWEST LOUISIANA. LED SECRETARY DON PIERSON SAYS CSRA is A MAJOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY COMPANY. PIERSON SAYS the company NOW EMPLOYS 400 PEOPLE IN SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER BUT WILL EXPAND TO 800 BY JUNE 2018. HE SAYS LOUISIANA IS FUNDING A 10-YEAR $14 MILLION HIGHER EDUCATION INITIATIVE WITH COLLEGES IN NORTHWEST LOUISIANA TO HELP THE COMPANY EXPAND ITS WORKFORCE.
It’s been one year since GLO Airlines inaugural flight out of their New Orleans based terminal. Currently, GLO offers daily flights from New Orleans to five destinations in the Gulf South. Founder and CEO Trey Fayard says they’re looking to depart from other Gulf and mid-South cities in the future. GLO recently added flights to Huntsville, Alabama, and Destin.
A 17-year-old boy is continuing to recover after receiving a serious neck injury during a football game on Friday night. Michael Doherty, a junior at St. Paul’s High School in Covington, collided with three players resulting in a major injury to his C5 vertebra. The school’s athletic director, Craig Ketelsen, says Doherty’s condition is still in a holding pattern after undergoing a seven hour surgery on Saturday. He says the love and support Doherty is receiving is amazing.
It’s been more than a year since a production has been filmed at Celtic Studios in Baton Rouge, and Executive Director Patrick Mulhearn says they’re doing what they can to keep their doors open. He says he’s finding other ways to use the facility. Mulhearn is hopeful the film industry will improve when the cap on film tax credits expires in 18 months.
News for Tuesday 111516
By Dave Graichen
This week thousands of college students from across the state will have a difficult decision to make, as they’re reminded they will owe almost 60-perent of their semester’s tuition in January. For the first time in its history, TOPS will not cover a recipient’s entire tuition because the legislature was not able to fully fund the program. The average LSU student will owe more than $2-thousand for the spring tuition, not including fees.
How Louisiana plans to close a 315-million dollar budget deficit will be discussed with state lawmakers on Friday. The budget gap was created when the state closed the books on last fiscal year and ended up spending more than what they took in. State agencies and colleges have been asked to prepare for budget cuts of up to 10-percent.
The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children released a report on how the school readiness tax credits are benefiting the state. Melanie Brofin with L-P-I-C says the incentive helps working families afford and access early care and education for children up to 4 years old. She says
funding has been cut by close to 70-percent. Brofin says more than 20-thousand families who qualify are not getting assistance.
The quarrel between Governor John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry continues, as the governor is asking a Baton Rouge court to define Landry’s role in state government. Publisher of LaPolitics.com, Jeremy Alford, says Landry has interpreted his role to be much further reaching than his predecessors, and the two officials disagree about how much power the AG should have. Edwards is asking the court to rule that the governor prevails when state leaders disagree about legal matters.
The Louisiana Lottery Corp, says no one won the Powerball drawings on Saturday night.
The prize goes to about $293 million for Wednesday.
Northwestern State University has received the 2017 Military Friendly School designation by Victory Media. N-S-U Vice President of Technology Darlene Williams says they have a long history of working with and serving the military with their relationships with Fort Polk and Barksdale Airforce Base. She says they also have a nationally ranked online degree program.
More than 16-hundred schools were considered for the honor. Williams hopes receiving designations like this will bring in more military students to the school.
The National “Move Over” Campaign is this week. State Police Master Trooper Scott Moreau says if there’s a vehicle on the shoulder, move over or slow to a reasonable speed. He says enforcement efforts are increased this week. Moreau says ten officers were killed in crashes on the side of Louisiana roadways last year.
State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Charlie Melancon orders a complete internal review of his agency after an audit found Gulf oil spill money went to unnecessary iPads, cameras, boats and fishing equipment. He says the mismanagement happened before he got there. The audit scrutinizes the department when it was run by Robert Barham.
Two key endorsements were announced Monday in the state’s runoff elections. Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry has publicly announced his support for State Treasurer John Kennedy for US Senate. Congressman John Fleming has endorsed Republican Mike Johnson in the race for the seat he is leaving after 8 years.
The man accused of killing a Raising Cane’s store manager pleaded not guilty Monday in Jefferson Parish. 24-year-old Joshua Every is charged with first degree murder and armed robbery in connection with the brutal killing of Taylor Friloux at the establishment where she was working in Kenner. Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty for Every.
UL-Lafayette head football coach Mark Hudspeth publicly apologized for the behavior of four of his players who were recorded in the locker room singing an anti-Donald Trump rap song filled with vulgarities. Hudspeth says these young men have shown remorse for their actions. Hudspeth says the four players in the video have been punished, but did not say how.
News for Monday 111416
By Dave Graichen
Congress reconvenes today, which means Louisiana’s congressional delegation will resume its efforts to get more federal funds appropriated for flood recovery. Baton Rouge Congressman Garrett Graves says right now the state still needs to come up with a plan for spending the $438 million they’ve already received. The Governor’s Office says the Restore Louisiana Task Force has delayed a vote on how to allocate the funds because the money is tied up in red tape. Graves says at this point, they aren’t sure how many payments Louisiana will receive because president-elect Donald Trump’s victory changes the dynamic.
Today is the final day for flood victims to register for Disaster Assistance. Ray Perez with FEMA says approximately 152-thousand individuals have registered for federal aid. To apply for federal disaster aid visit disaster-assistance-dot-gov (disasterassistance.org). Perez says just because registration stops today, does not mean that the work stops. He says FEMA will be in Louisiana for the long term because they’re just getting started.
Gas prices have once again dipped below two dollars. Senior Petroleum Analyst with GasBuddy.com, Gregg Laskoski says the nation is seeing prices five cents lower than a week ago, with Louisiana being four cents lower. He says there is a very good chance we will see these gas prices continuing to decline.
The two candidates in the US Senate runoff have each agreed to participate in two TV debates, but disagree about which two. Democrat Foster Campbell and Republican John Kennedy have each agreed to attend a December 2nd forum planned by WVLA-TV in Baton Rouge. But Kennedy also said he plans to debate on WDSU on November 29th, and Campbell on LBP December first. It’s unclear how the campaigns will resolve the conflict.
Republican Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle is up against fellow GOP contender Capt. Clay Higgins in the runoff for the 3rd Congressional District seat. Higgins is confident he will win soundly, and he says he feels good going into the runoff. He says if elected, he will not be a part of the corruption in Washington. Angelle believes he is in a strong position going into the runoff, as he beat Higgins in the polls by three percent. But he says he’s not taking anything for granted.
The ex wife of Congressional candidate Clay Higgins, aka the Cajun John Wayne, has filed a lawsuit against the former St. Landry Parish deputy for back child support. It’s reported Higgins owes almost $100,000. The lawsuit was filed the day after the election and Higgins’ campaign says the timing is ridiculous.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie said all officers will have body cameras by spring.He says they hope to wrap up a body camera pilot program by then and begin rolling out the devices. A decision on how or whether to cover the cost of outfitting the entire department with body cameras will be up to the next mayor and Metro Council.
A Shreveport-based jet maintenance company announces plans to close next year, putting hundreds of jobs at risk. ExpressJet Corporate Communications Director Bobbie Batista issues a statement saying the base is scheduled to close by June 17. ExpressJet currently employs 286 local workers, some of whom have been there for more than a decade.
The Golden Boot Trophy is back in Baton Rouge as a result of LSU’s dominating 38-10 win over Arkansas in Razorback Stadium. It’s the Tigers first win over the Hogs since 2013. Interim Head Coach Ed Orgeron says the players were determined to get a win in Fayetteville
Nine out of 10 LSU fans approve of interim head football coach Ed Orgeron’s job performance, according to a statewide public opinion poll. 72% of fans said LSU should keep Coach “O” permanently.
The Saints lost in a shocking manner on Sunday afternoon in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as Denver blocks an extra point with 1:22 left in the game and returned it for two points for a 25-23 victory. Will Parks returned the blocked kick for a score. The loss drops New Orleans record to 4-5. Payton says the team will have to bounce back, with Carolina coming up on Thursday.
News for Thursday 111016
By Dave Graichen
US Senator Bill Cassidy is excited about the upcoming Trump Administration, saying now the chains of Congress will be removed and they can start working toward real change. He says a major priority will be repairing the nation’s healthcare system. Cassidy believes Trump will be good for Louisiana’s struggling oil and gas industry as he anticipates the President-elect will look to develop domestic energy resources.
Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards has issued a statement congratulating Trump on the historic victory. Edwards says Louisiana will be a strong partner with President-elect Trump and his new administration.
Former Governor Bobby Jindal has kept a low-profile since leaving the governor’s mansion last January. But the Wall Street Journal reports Trump may consider Jindal to be his Health and Human Services Secretary.
Business leaders in Louisiana are confident a Trump Administration will be good for the state’s economy. Louisiana Association of Business and Industry President Stephen Waguespack says government regulations, like the new overtime pay order and Obamacare, are hurting small businesses. LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott has concerns about the president-elect’s campaign promises about renegotiating trade agreements. He says after NAFTA was established in 1994, the Bayou State did see a significant loss, but it was followed by a tremendous economic boost.
Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential race came as a surprise to many, as Hillary Clinton had a strong lead in the polls heading into Election Day. Political analyst Ron Faucheux of New Orleans says many of the statewide polls were off by at least three points, likely because people were inundated with survey calls. He says this should show polling companies that they should rethink the methodology.
The constitutional amendment that would have allowed colleges to set their own tuition did not pass Tuesdsay. Higher Education Commissioner Joseph Rallo says this was not about raising tuition and believes the final wording approved by the legislature likely concerned voters. He says funding issues will continue to plague higher ed.
There were 24 candidates running for US Senate and now there’s just two. Republican John Kennedy and Democrat Foster Campbell have advanced to the runoff. Analysts predict Kennedy is the favorite to win, but Campbell hopes his position as a non-political insider will resonate with voters. Kennedy says he’s running to protect the taxpayer and get his country back. Kennedy was the top vote getter in last night’s election with 25-percent of the vote, while Campbell had 17-percent, edging out Republican Charles Boustany.
Mike Francis of Crowley has been elected as the Public Service Commissioner for District 4. Clyde Holloway represented the district until his death in October. Francis says he will bring proven business principles to the Public Service Commission. Francis previously served as the state’s Republican Party chairman for six years.
Days are becoming shorter as winter is coming, and Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon warns drivers to steer clear of deer this fall. He says there are 1.5 million deer-related accidents in the US every year. He says the risk of hitting a deer is even greater after daylight savings ends.
LSU will soon have a new facility for students who are currently in the military or served in the armed forces. Coordinator for LSU Veteran and Military Services, Adam Jennings, says the 46-hundred square-foot Military and Veterans Student Center will have study space for groups and individual study, as well as tutors. LSU has contracted with architects to design the building, and construction is set to begin once contractors have been hired. LSU is currently home to nearly 500 veteran students and more than 16-hundred undergraduate dependents.
News for Wednesday 110916
By Dave Graichen
Donald Trump, in a surprise upset, was elected the 45th president of the United States over Hillary Clinton. He took the stage early Wednesday morning before a raucous crowd of supporters in midtown Manhattan saying he had just received a call from Secretary Clinton. Rump said She congratulated him on his victory. And that he that he congratulated her on a hard-fought campaign. He praised Clinton for the hard work she’s done for the country, and told the crowd that “we owe her a major debt of gratitude” for her service to our country.
It was a remarkably conciliatory speech from a candidate who employed had employed more fiery rhetoric his campaign and endured few slights silently. Trump said “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,”. Trump pledged to fix our inner cities, rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, and “finally take care of our great veterans.” America “will no longer settle for anything less than the best,” he pledged. The U.S. will double its growth and have the “strongest economy anywhere in the world,” Trump said. And he promised to seek common ground and “not hostility.”
Here at home, in the contest to fill the seat being vacated by US Senator David Vitter, it will come down to a run off between State Treasurer John Kennedy, who had 25% of the vote and Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, who had 17%. Coming in third in the Senate race Congressman Charles Boustany with 15% of the vote while the other Democrat in the race Caroline Fayard came in 4th with 12%
When it came to the constitutional amendments on the state ballot, it was an even split, with half of the six winning passage and half not. Amendment #1 that Dealt with the appoint of qualified Registrar of voters passed. As did Amendment #4 that dealt with Homestead exemptions for Surviving Spouses. Amendment #5 also passed, that was the one that would call for the creation of a revenue stabilization fund. One surprise on the list of amendments, was the failure of #2. That would have allowed colleges and universities in the state to control their own tuition as they do in most other states. That was expected to win passage,.
In the 5th congressional district, Congressman Ralph Abraham easily sailed to victory with 82% of the vote. Garret Graves easily won the 6th with 63%. It will be a runoff in the 4th between Democrat Marshall Jones and Republican Mike Johnson. In the 3rd a runoff between Scott Angelle and Clay Higgins. In the second, an easy victory for Cedric Richmond. He pulled down 70% of the vote. And finally in the 1st, a cake walk for Republican Steve Scalise with 75% of the votes.
In the councilman at Large race in Alexandria it was a close one with Joe Fuller winning by 4 percentage points over Lee Rubin. The Council District 3 seat was decided by the exact same margin of 4 Percentage point with Jules Green over Cynthia Perry.
In the 3rd Circuit court of appeals race, Chris Peters beat Van Kyzar by 4 percentage points
In The PSC District 4 race, It will be a runoff between Mike Francis, who brought down 38% of the vote and Mary Werner who had 34%.
Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Republican Treasurer John Kennedy is the favorite to win on December 10th, when he will face Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell in the U.S. Senate runoff. Pinsonat says it’s clear the GOP is strong in the Bayou State, which will make it difficult for a Democrat to pull enough votes.
Pinsonat says it’s unusual for Louisianans not to elect Congressmen into the US Senate, but neither of the Republican Congressmen, Charles Boustany and John Fleming, had enough support to advance to the runoff as they finished 3rd and 5th respectively. He believes it has to do with voters’ attitudes about Washington politics.
Pinsonat says Kennedy, who is serving his fifth term as State Treasurer, had more statewide name recognition than any of the other 23 candidates on the ballot. He says both Boustany and Fleming pulled most of their votes from within their districts.
Democrat Foster Campbell narrowly beat Republican Charles Boustany for the second spot in the U.S. Senate runoff. Campbell beat out Boustany by 2-percent, coming in at 17-percent. The Public Service Commissioner says if elected, he will represent the middle class and Kennedy won’t. Campbell has been endorsed by Governor John Bel Edwards. Campbell says a vote for Kennedy is a vote for current Republican U.S. Senator David Vitter. He says if elected, he will raise the minimum wage.
The third and fourth Congressional District races are headed to a runoff. In the third, two Republicans will square off, Scott Angelle and Clay Higgins and in the 4th district, it will be Democrat Marshall Jones versus Republican Mike Johnson. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says no surprises
In the 4th Congressional District, Jones edged Johnson 27-to-25-percent. But Stockley says Johnson, who is a GOP state representative, goes into the runoff as the favorite to win.
In the 3rd Congressional District, Angelle narrowly beat Higgins 28-27 percent. Angelle is on the Public Service Commission, while Higgins has gained famed as a law enforcement officer. Stockley says many voters like Higgins’ message.
Governor John Bel Edwards is traveling to Washington, D.C. today to seek a more comprehensive package for flood recovery in Louisiana. The governor’s spokesperson, Richard Carbo, says this is the first of several trips Edwards will make between now and the end of the year as he tries to get more aid approved. The state has already received 438-million dollars in federal grant money approved by Congress. That was money was approved in September.
News for Tuesday Election Day 110816
By Dave Graichen
It looks like Election Day will be a wet one, as a cold front is crossing Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim expects the front will bring about a half inch of rain in the northern part of the state and 2 inches in southeast Louisiana.
One of the most unusual election cycles we’ve ever seen finally comes to an end tonight. Secretary of State Tom Schedler reminds voters that polls are open from 6 am until 8 pm. He says based on the early voting turnout of 515-thousand people, he’s expecting a huge voter turnout on Election Day. Schedler advises people to cast their ballots during the mid-morning and mid-afternoon hours if possible. But he says as long as you’re in line by 8 pm, you will be able to vote.
There are six constitutional amendments on today’s ballot and one of them will have an impact on how much it will cost to attend college. It’s amendment 2. President of the Public Affairs Research Council Robert Travis Scott says it would give the four higher education boards the ability to raise tuition, without receiving legislative approval. Scott says colleges have wanted to set their own tuition for a long time and it’s become more of an issue because of a decline in state funding
The trial for Derrick Stafford, a Marksville deputy marshal, accused of fatally shooting a 6-year-old boy, has been pushed back until March 13, 2017. His trial was originally November 28th. Stafford along with Norris Greenhouse Jr. has been accused of shooting into a vehicle killing Jeremy Mardis and injuring his father, Chris Few. Police say out of 18 shots fired, 14 of those came from Stafford’s gun.
Alcohol is suspected in the death of a Provencal man last night. The State Police report a truck driven by 67 year old Waymon Dale left LA Hwy 117 and collided with a tree. Troopers say Dale was not wearing at wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead a short time later at a local hospital.
A Vernon Parish school bus driver has been cited with failure to yield after he collided with an SUV Monday morning on highway 171. Scott Moreau with the State Police says there were 19 children on the bus. Four were transported to local hospitals with minor injuries. However, The driver of the SUV’s injuries were slightly more sever.
A Lake Charles woman, who was allegedly intoxicated with kids in the car, is behind bars following a fiery crash on Highway 165 early Sunday morning. State Trooper Scott Moreau says 29-year-old Kate Davis had a one-year-old, a 2-year-old, a 5-year-old, and an 8-year-old in the vehicle. Miraculously, they all escaped moments before the vehicle burst into flames. Moreau says this is the third time Davis has been charged with driving while intoxicated.
A Baton Rouge Police officer has filed a lawsuit against the Black Lives Matter movement after he was injured during the July protests. Co-founder of group, DeRay McKesson, was also named on the suit. The officer says he was knocked to the ground after being hit in the face with something resembling a rock and suffered injuries to his jaw and brain and lost multiple teeth.
A burn ban is still in effect for much of Louisiana, despite some rain in the forecast. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says almost every parish in the state is under a burn ban until further notice. Browning says it will take a substantial amount of precipitation to make it safe to burn again. That amount of rain is not on the horizon.
Psychologists say most Americans are experiencing higher than average anxiety because of the election. Dr. Michelle Moore with LSU Health New Orleans says this kind of stress can cause people to become physically ill. The American Psychological Association found that 52-percent of Americans are stressed out by the election, and Moore doesn’t expect people to stop worrying once it’s over.
A 25-year-old is behind bars following the brutal murder of a 64-year-old man. Brennan Matherne with the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office says Cameron Sands beat the victim to death with a cane and a wooden statue. He says the body of Wayne Matherne was discovered hours after the early morning beating. Sands has been charged with second degree murder.
Authorities say three meth labs were found in a Bayou Vista home across the street from a school. Detectives with the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office found the meth labs, items to make the drug, along with drug paraphernalia.
The Saints recent winning ways have put themselves in position to make a run at a postseason berth during the 2nd half of the season. New Orleans is now 4-and-4, a half-game back of Washington for the final Wild Card spot in the NFC. The Saints host the defending Super Bowl champs this Sunday, the Denver Broncos and then they’ll visit the defending NFC champs, Carolina a week from Thursday.
News for Monday 110716
By Dave Graichen
All the excitement of the unusual 2016 election cycle comes to a head at the polls tomorrow. Meg Casper with the Secretary of State’s Office says they are anticipating a high voter turnout, like they saw with early voting. She says reminds the voters that poll times are different on Tuesday elections. The polls open at 6a and close at 8pm and remember, you are allowed only three minutes in the voting booth..
One of the state’s top political reporters believes the second runoff spot in the US Senate race will be decided by the black vote. LaPolitics-dot-com publisher Jeremy Alford says Republican Treasurer John Kennedy is expected to be the top vote getter tomorrow and he could face one of two Democrats in the run-off, either Foster Campbell or Caroline Fayard, but Alford says if Campbell and Fayard split the African American vote, then neither of them will make the runoff. He says internal polling shows that Republican John Fleming is making a push to surpass fellow GOP Congressman Charles Boustany.
With the end of Daylight Savings Time comes shorter days. Executive Director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, Dr. Katara Williams, says drivers need to take extra precautions, as they’ll now be driving home from work in the dark. She says make sure all the lights on your vehicle work. Williams says just because street lights will be coming on earlier, doesn’t mean kids will head home any sooner. She says motorists need to be on the lookout for pedestrians and children playing outside in residential areas.
For the seventh straight year, Louisiana is in the top 10 for Site Selector’s Best States for Business, coming in at number 7. The report looked at factors that allows a business to thrive in Louisiana, including the tax burden. Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says this ranking could help bring more national companies to the Bayou State.
Monroe-based CenturyLink announced a deal Friday to sell its data centers to a group of companies for $2.15 billion. The company says it would use the net proceeds from the sale to partly fund its $24 billion acquisition of Level 3 Communications Inc.
Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal has been found not guilty of covering up inmate beatings. The Sheriff was accused of ignoring excessive force used on inmates and suspects during his eight year tenure as sheriff. Ten deputies plead guilty in connection to the beatings, but Ackal’s defense attorney argued the prosecution witnesses were unreliable. The local district attorney reportedly dismissed over 100 criminal cases connected to the officers who entered guilty pleas.
Now that we have set our clocks back, the state Fire Marshal’s Office reminds everyone to check their smoke detectors and make sure the batteries in their fire alarms are working properly. Butch Browning says Louisiana ranks in the top 12 states for home fire deaths.
Browning encourages people to switch to lithium batteries, because non-lithium batteries need to be changed once a year.
Training is underway for the 95th cadet class of the Louisiana State Police Training Academy. 65 men and women are participating in the intensive training regimen. Sgt. Jared Sandifer says these individuals have embarked on a difficult 22 week journey where cadets learn about crash investigations, impaired driving detection, leadership skills and more. This is the first cadet class since December 2015 where 57 Troopers graduated.
You’re starting to see a lot more campaign ads now that we’re just a day away from the election, but are they doing any good? Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat doesn’t think so. He says the Senate race is certainly not boosting voter turnout for this election. He says most of the political ads he’s seeing in the Senate race are ridiculous and don’t even make sense.
News for Friday 110416
By Dave Graichen
A front is moving through Louisiana today that’s expected to bring more fall-like temperatures. State climatologist Barry Keim says this is welcome news since temperatures have been running 10 degrees above average for the past week. But Keim says what we really need is rainfall, as drought has taken hold of Louisiana. He says there is no significant rain in the forecast for next week either.
Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain urged citizens to use caution as wildfire risk remains elevated due to dry conditions across much of our state. More than a dozen parishes, including Rapides and Grant, have already instituted burn bans as dry weather continues. A cool front is moving through the state bringing lower humidity and increased winds. Strain says that’s a recipe for potentially dangerous wildfires.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler expects a huge voter turnout for next week’s Presidential election. Schedler says 515-thousand residents early voted and we could see an overall voter turnout of around 69-percent. He says about 1.7 million registered voters have yet to vote
Schedler reminds voters to read up on the six constitutional amendments that are on the ballot. He also wants to put all the rumors to rest once again about voting machines being rigged because, he says, it isn’t possible.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand has endorsed Republican Charles Boustany in the US Senate race. Political analyst Clancy Dubos says Norman’s endorsement of Governor John Bel Edwards helped him carry Jefferson parish in last year’s gubernatorial race, and it could have similar benefits for Boustany. Dubos says this is one of the more significant endorsements Boustany has gotten.
Northwestern State University has been ranked the most affordable online college in the country by College Choice. N-S-U Vice President for Technology Darlene Williams says this is a wonderful accolade. She says about 65-hundred students take at least one online class through Northwestern.
Louisiana is ranked number 2 nationally for worker safety in 2015 according to the state workforce commission. They say the Bureau of Labor Statistics survey indicates the rate of work-related injuries and illnesses among Louisiana’s private sector employers improved last year to the best level in 14 years. The numbers showed the state averaged 1.9 incidents per 100 full-time workers, down from 2.0 in 2014.
A Mississippi lawyer is dropping his lawsuit against Popeyes. Paul Newton Junior filed a suit, after he choked on a piece of fried chicken after only receiving a spork, instead of a plastic knife. Newton tells LRN that because of extreme comments directed at him, he will not pursue the matter further, but hopes Popeyes will provide plastic knives to their drive-thru customers.
The Louisiana Psychological Association is working to help flood victims recover and become more resilient. Psychologist Darlyne Nemeth says they are holding workshops, starting this Saturday.
McNeese State visits the top ranked team in the FCS on Saturday, the Sam Houston State Bearcats. The Cowboys defeated Sam Houston in the regular season, but lost to them in the playoffs.
Former LSU basketball star Ben Simmons tells a Showtime documentary that the NCAA is messed up and he shouldn’t have had to play a year of college before going pro. NCAA President Mark Emmert says that rule is the NBA’s and he doesn’t agree with it.
LSU goes into the Alabama game ranked 13th in the college football playoff rankings. So do the Tigers have a chance at being one of the four teams that’s playing for the national championship. Jerry Palm, with C-B-S sports-dot-com says LSU can’t afford another loss. This is the third year of the college football playoff and a two-loss team has yet to make the playoffs. The Tigers already have two losses.
LC Men’s basketball coach Reni Mason announced Thursday the addition of Jasmin Anderson to the basketball staff as director of basketball operations for the Wildcat program. A native of Shreveport, Anderson graduated from Loyola College Prep in 2012.
News for Thursday 110316
By Dave Graichen
Alexandria Officials held a press conference yesterday afternoon to announce details surrounding this year’s Alex Winter Fete. This year the city is adding attractions and going bigger with some of the most successful aspects of last year's festival. Mayor Roy says, the skating rink at Fulton Mini Park will be larger, There will be more Christmas lights, the snow globe for people to take pictures inside will be larger and the fireworks Dec. 2 more impressive.. Returning this year live music, food and shopping vendors. This year's Winter Fête will be Dec. 1-3.
The Town Talk reports The Rapides Parish School Board will consider selling a portion of the land where the J.S. Slocum Learning Center is currently located, months after the Environmental Protection Agency found contaminated soil on the property. The report was brought up at Tuesday’s meeting when the district proposed exploring an offer from the former Colfax Creosote company to purchase an unspecified amount of the land on Crepe Myrtle Street in Pineville. The full story can be found in today’s Town Talk.
Much like the first, the second US Senate debate got heated as candidates had sharp jabs for their opponents. The squabbling started Democratic candidate Caroline Fayard. Who was quick to comment on Republican David Duke’s presence at the debate. John Kennedy fired at Duke, calling him a convicted liar and a convicted felon. The only candidate who didn’t make any jabs at an opponent was Republican Charles Boustany. The Congressman kept his cool throughout the debate, except for a moment in a rebuttal with Fleming about Obamacare.
State lawmakers have received suggestions from Louisiana’s Tax Task Force on how to improve the state’s tax codes. Task Force Chairman Dr. Jim Richardson says they’re recommending lawmakers eliminate some excess deductions and credits, simplify the income and sales taxes, and broaden the tax base. Legislators will consider the suggestions in the 2017 fiscal session, and Richardson says it’s unclear how receptive they will be.
Louisiana once again scores poorly on the report card from the March of Dimes due to the high prevalence of pre-term births in the state. Amy Zapata with the Louisiana Department of Health hopes the expansion of the Medicaid program will help provide care to at risk low-income expecting mothers. The March of Dimes report says 12% of babies born in Louisiana are pre-mature.
Small business uncertainty is at an all-time high less than a week before the election, according to the National Federation for Independent Business. The October Uncertainty Index rose from 86 to 88, which exceeded last August’s record-breaking index. NFIB state director Dawn Starns says this high level of uncertainty makes it hard for small business owners to plan for the future.
The first college football rankings are out, and Alabama is number one and LSU is 13 with a 5-and-2 record. The Tigers and the Tide face off this Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.
A woman who was being held hostage in her home is now safe, thanks to a little help from her son. East Feliciana Sheriff Jeff Travis says 27-year-old Donald Guy was found hiding in a closet of the woman’s home, after her 11-year-old son brought a note to school asking for help.
Travis says the child’s mother was being held against her will, along with the mother and grandmother of the suspect.
State Police announce they’ve been able to reach a resolution in a murder case that is 27-years-old. They say in 1989, Gerald Daigle was found stabbed to death in an apparent robbery at his place of business in Houma. Forensic technology that was not available at that time was used to identify a man who was executed in Texas as the murderer. Bryan Wolfe was convicted of Capital Murder in Beaumont for the killing of a woman during a robbery in 1992. He lived in Houma when Daigle was murdered.
A former guard at Angola faces up to 10 years in prison after he plead guilty in federal court to covering up the beating of an inmate, who was handcuffed and shackled in solitary confinement. Court documents say Scott Kennedy was one of three guards involved in the 2004 incident.
A former deputy testified in the federal trial of Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal that the sheriff told them it was ok to beat whoever you wanted. Ackal faces civil rights charges as part of an investigation that alleges inmate abuse and cover-ups dating back several years ago. Ackal’s attorney says these deputies are trying to win favor with the prosecution as they seek lighter sentences in their cases.
Verizon Wireless and Governor John Bel Edwards are touting the efforts of the company following the south Louisiana flood. Market President Krista Bourne says they invest in their networks so they’re ready for moments like this. She says they’ve put $17 million into the network in Louisiana, which paid off as Verizon customers did not lose service during the disaster. Verizon is donating $75-thousand to the Salvation Army for flood recovery efforts in south Louisiana.
News for Wednesday 110216
By Dave Graichen
Early voting is over and Louisiana saw a record number of voters during the one week period. As of Monday, 427-thousand people went to cast their votes ahead of the actual Election Day. John Couvillon with JMC Analytics says 89-percent of those who voted early, are individuals who normally do vote when there’s an election. But Couvillon says 75-percent of registered voters have yet to vote, so candidates still need to campaign hard and make a favorable last impression, especially with those who have yet to make up their minds.
Six U.S. Senate candidates face off tonight in a televised debate at Dillard University less than a week before Election Day. That includes Republican candidate and former KKK leader David Duke, who will take the stage alongside five opponents at the historically black university. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says Republican Charles Boustany and Democrat Foster Campbell have the most at stake and this debate could decide which candidate makes the runoff with John Kennedy. Cross expects a higher viewership since Duke is in the debate.
The most anticipated SEC matchup of the season is almost here, and fans are scrambling to get their tickets. Chris Leyden with Seat Geek says the average resale price is $372, which is a typical ticket cost when the Crimson Tide comes to Death Valley. He encourages people to look at tickets in different sections because prices vary depending on where you sit. FYI, tickets on the Alabama sideline are 28-percent less than on LSU’s sideline.
The Louisiana National Guard says the final successful burn of 85-thousand pounds of clean burning igniter and 40-thousand pounds of MG propellant stored in a bunker at Camp Minden in Webster Parish took place Tuesday. All in all, it took three burns like yesterday’s to get rid of this explosive material.
A school janitor has been arrested by the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office for allegedly touching a 14-year-old girl’s genitals at the school’s haunted house. Major Eddie Thibodaux says 57-year-old Olan Bienvenue was charged with Sexual Battery upon a victim under 15. He reminds the public that this type of crime can happen anywhere to anyone and encourages parents to have open conversations with their children. Bienvenue’s bond has been set for 6-thousand dollars.
As of the first of the month, the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles no longer accepts cash. OMV Commissioner Karen St. Germaine hopes this new policy will not inconvenience customers, but she says paying electronically is a much safer way to make a purchase. OMV will now only accept debit and credit cards, checks, and money orders.
Governor John Bel Edwards is asking President Obama to reconsider lessening the state’s share of disaster response for the March flooding event in north and central Louisiana. Currently, Louisiana must pay 25-percent of the cost rather than the requested 10-percent. Deputy Director of Recovery at GOHSEP Mark Riley says a 10-percent cost share would save the state about 28-million dollars.
The EPA proposes to re-designate the five-parish Baton Rouge region as in attainment for the federal ozone standards. Department of Environmental Quality air quality senior scientist, Vivian Aucoin, says the area has worked hard for years to improve air quality in order to lower harmful ozone levels.
Yesterday, a Houma jury gave the death penalty to 38-year old David Brown, who was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder on Sunday. In 2012, Brown killed of 29-year-old Jacquelin Nieves and her 7 and 1-year-old daughters. Brown sexually assaulted Nieves and her oldest daughter Gabriela then stabbed them to death before lighting the apartment on fire. The infant died of smoke inhalation.
Many Louisiana farmers are benefiting from the lack of rainfall over the last month and a half. LSU Ag Center Economist Kurt Guidry says row crops like corn and soybeans are welcoming the dry conditions. But he says the dry weather is making to hard for ranchers to plant winter forages and harvest good hay. There’s no rain in the forecast.
Two people accused of taking part in the Kenner robbery that lead to the killing of a Raising Cane’s manager in June have entered not guilty pleas. Arianna Runner denies charges of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and obstruction of justice. Gregory J. Donald faces several charges including second-degree murder. Prosecutors have already said they are seeking the death penalty for 23-year-old Joshua Every in the death of 24-year-old Taylor Friloux.
The World Series is going to Game 7 after the Chicago Cubs Tuesday night defeated the Cleveland Indians at Cleveland in a solid 9-3 thumping. Game seven is tonight beginning at 6p on ESPN 1410 & 93.HD3
Alabama Coach Nick Saban considers LSU an “undefeated” team as he gets ready to take the top ranked Crimson Tide into Baton Rouge for a Saturday night SEC matchup in Tiger Stadium. LSU has not lost since Ed Orgeron was named head coach and Saban says the Tigers offense is more “open” and the players are executing the game plan. Alabama has won the last five games in this rivalry.
News for Tuesday 110116
By Dave Graichen
As we mentioned yesterday, most of the state is now in experiencing drought conditions.. with that in mind, the Rapides Parish Police Jury has issued a burn ban. Parish officials say the ban will remain in effect until further notice. Last month was one of the driest Octobers since the last 1800. November does not promise to break that trend.
Today is the last day of early voting and there have already been a record number of voters turning out to the polls. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says as of Saturday, 366-thousand votes have been cast and those numbers are growing. Early voting for the 2016 Presidential Election has broken records from the previous elections in 2008 and 2012. Roughly about 73-thousand people voted each day during the early voting period.
Higher premiums will greet those who sign up for health insurance provided by the federal Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment begins today for coverage in 2017. State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says Louisiana families we’ll see an average premium increase of 33-percent, which is above the national average. Donelon says there are good reasons for the higher premiums. He says consumers will see lower deductibles and co-pays and better overall coverage. But the higher premiums are still a tough pill to swallow.
Monroe-based CenturyLink announces they’ve purchased Level 3 Communications for 34-billion dollars. CenturyLink offers internet, TV and phone services to residents and data and IT services to businesses. ULM Economist Robert Eisenstadt says the deal will allow the Fortune 500 company to shore up their market position and product line. Level 3 is based in Colorado and it provides data, video and other communication services to businesses and government agencies. Eisenstadt says in the telecommunications world the only way to succeed is to keep growing.
College students on TOPS are facing a huge price tag in the spring as severe cuts are coming to the scholarship program. The program for students will be funded at just over 40 percent this spring, leaving those students to make up the difference. Higher education leaders do expect to lose students because they won’t be able to afford to fill the gap from the cuts.
According to a pair of recent studies, Louisiana holds some of the top spots in the nation when it comes to bullying problems in schools. WalletHub says the state is ranked six for the percentage of high schoolers who are heckled on campus, and Louisiana leads in the number of older kids who attempted suicide. The website BackgroundChecks.org compiled similar statistics and found that Louisiana is the MOST bullied state in America.
With Halloween over, retailers are gearing up for the holiday shopping season. The National Retail Federation is predicting consumers nationwide will spend about 952 dollars this year. But LSU Marketing Professor Dan Rice says that could be a little different in Louisiana, given the downturn in the oil industry and so many people were impacted by flooding this year.
The state department of health says Louisiana has had it’s first West Nile virus death of the year. To protect the victim’s privacy, health officials are not reporting where the death occurred. There’s also six addition cases of West Nile to bring this year’s total to 36. Twenty-one of the cases were the serious form that lead to brain damage or death.
Election Day is right around the corner and the race for the 2nd Congressional District seat has been quiet between Democrats Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden and incumbent Cedric Richmond. Congressman Richmond says his track record in office allowed him to spend more time on the presidential campaign trail. Richmond has raised close to 740-thousand dollars and says he is airing multiple radio ads. Holden, who raised over 6-thousand dollars, says he’s ramping up his campaign now.
ESPN’s College GameDay is coming to Baton Rouge this weekend for the LSU-Alabama game. This will be the Tigers’ 26th appearance on the show and GameDay’s 11th time in Death Valley.
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