News for Wednesday 042617
By Dave Graichen
A Boyce pair recently accused of stealing from a convenience store now face more charges, and one is facing extradition to Mississippi because of parole violations. The second complaint regarding 48 year old Richard McCormic and 50 year old Patricia Pickering came only two days after their April 19 arrests on charges of theft and resisting arrest.
The governor’s proposal to impose a new tax on business sales has been pulled. John Bel Edwards touted the measure as a way to stabilize Louisiana’s budget, especially since one-point-three billion dollars in temporary taxes expire in mid-2018. Edwards says since the Republicans didn’t like his plan, he’s waiting for House GOP leaders to unveil their own proposal. House republican leaders favor budget cutting over additional taxes.
It may be a little too late, but, Franklinton Senator Beth Mizell says she will continue to move forward with her bill to require state legislative approval before Confederate monuments are removed, even though New Orleans officials have started the process in the Crescent City. Mizell says it’s unclear when the Senate Governmental Affairs committee will hear her bill.
The full House rejects a bill that would cut in half the wait time for couples with minor children to get divorced. Supporters say the measure would be better for children if their bickering parents can divorce after six months from filing. But opponents say the one-year wait time can help prevent a divorce and lead to reconciliation between the parents.
On a 6 to 1 vote, a Senate Judiciary committee approves a proposal to abolish the death penalty in Louisiana. Bishop Shelton Fabre of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux says taking a life should be left to a higher power. There was emotional testimony from opponents to the bill.
The measure now heads to the Senate floor for more debate.
The deal with the contractor selected to oversee the state’s disaster recovery program is now official. IEM is set to oversee the $1.3 billion dollar federal flood system for homeowners. The size of the contract is an estimated $226.7 million. IEM was the same firm originally chosen to do the work, but the state scrapped the contract because it was too costly. The governor’s office said re-opening the bidding process ended up saving the state money.
Prosecutors are negotiating the definition of “nonviolent” with the Governor’s Office to see if some middle ground can be found that would allow the district attorneys to back the sweeping package of bills aimed at reducing Louisiana’s nation-leading prison population. The state’s district attorneys and sheriffs fear too many violent criminals could be among the 13 percent of the population released if the 10 bills in Edwards’ criminal justice revamp is approved without changes. The legislation to lower criminal sentences, make parole easier and improve rehabilitation programs would save taxpayers $300 million.
A measure that would prohibit the use of tobacco products anywhere on a public or private school campus is scheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee today. West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman says in the 90’s, Louisiana made it illegal to smoke in schools, but this legislation will expand on that law. Hoffman says there will be some exceptions to the bill, like churches or other non-educational buildings.
Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso says three suspects, with criminal records, tied up an 83-year-old man in his home in Starks for seven hours and stole his guns, cell phone and wallet. Mancuso believes these individuals stalked and took advantage of this elderly man. Mancuso says two of the suspects are in custody, the search is on for the other.
Boosted by five-run 7th-inning rally, Tulane defeated the LSU Tigers 9-6 in college baseball last night in New Orleans. It was the fourth consecutive loss to Tulane. Up next, the Tigers are on the road for a three game series at Alabama starting Thursday night.
The Saints and 32-year-old Adrian Peterson agree to a two-year contract. Coach Sean Payton believes the future Hall-of-Fame running back will be an excellent fit in the locker room and on the field.
The future home of the New Orleans Pelicans’ NBA Development League team was narrowed to six cities Tuesday. The franchise announced just six of their proposed 10 sites responded to the team’s Request For Proposal, leaving in-state suitors Baton Rouge, Shreveport and St. Tammany Parish in the picture as well as Jackson, Mississippi, Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida. The Pelicans did not receive RFP responses from Lafayette, Monroe, Alexandria and Biloxi, Mississippi, removing them from contention. The team won’t begin play until the 2018-19 season.
News for Tuesday 042517
By Dave Graichen
The centerpiece of Governor John Bel Edwards plan to overhaul Louisiana’s tax structure did not receive a warm reception from Republicans in the House Ways and Means committee yesterday. The governor is proposing a Commercial Activity Tax on businesses as a way to generate revenue to make up for the one-point-three billion dollars in temporary sales taxes that expire next year. Discussion on this bill continue Today.
The Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs committee approves a proposal to exempt diapers and tampons from the state sales tax. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says the state constitution already exempts essential items like water, food, and prescriptions from the states sales tax. The measure heads to the Senate floor.
A northwest Louisiana lawmaker wants to put an end to the need of an inspection sticker for your vehicle. Stonewall Representative Larry Bagley believes the stickers are more about money than safety. Bagley’s bill will be heard soon in the House Transportation Committee. State Police uses some of the money from the purchase of the sticker to fund their operations. Inspection stickers will still be required in the five-parish Baton Rouge area, because federal law mandates it, due to air quality concerns.
A bill that would eliminate the death penalty in Louisiana goes before a Senate Committee today. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor says this would end the death penalty for first degree murder and rape offenses committed after July 31st. The former prosecutor says he used to be in support of the death penalty, but his views have shifted because of moral and religious beliefs. Claitor, who is Catholic, says we should promote life, not snuff it out. The measure would not affect individuals currently on death row.
Contractors removed one of the four controversial confederate monuments in New Orleans early this morning. Mayor Mitch Landrieu says the work of taking the Liberty Place monument down was done in the middle night for the safety of the workers. The statue honors the killing of police officers by white supremacists. Landrieu says they’ll move to remove the three other monuments sooner rather than later.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is not happy the Liberty Place monument in New Orleans was taken down under the cover of night. The monument commemorated a group of white supremacists who fought against the racially integrated police force in 1874. Nungesser says the monuments should stay in place because they’re part of Louisiana’s history.
Iberia Parish Sheriff Major Wendell Raborn says they are receiving a lot of tips regarding the murder of an 80-year-old woman early Saturday morning in New Iberia. Authorities says bullets flew through the front door of Bertha Hill’s home and she was fatally struck multiple times.
Lafayette Police are searching for a 21-year-old woman who is wanted for attempted manslaughter. Authorities say Natasha Portis intentionally struck two women along the side of the street early Monday morning.
It’s expected a 30 second commercial from Governor John Bel Edwards will hit the airwaves this week, promoting his budget plan. The governor is pushing a proposal to place a new tax on businesses while reducing individual income taxes. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says he doesn’t have much support from legislators. The governor is recommending this tax plan as a way to offset 1.3 billion dollars in temporary sales taxes that are set to expire next year. Pinsonat says Republicans are not overly concerned with the higher sales taxes but Edwards is looking out for his low income supporters.
A man helping with a jambalaya cookout to help pay for the funeral expenses of an Ascension Parish resident fatally gunned down last week was arrested Monday on allegations he shot the dead man's brother as the event was winding down. Gonzales City police 31 year old Melvin Sanders shot 26 year old Jonathan Harvey at least six times Sunday after Harvey had gotten in a fight with two others. Harvey was in stable condition Monday evening after surgery.
Tigers Take on Green Wave tonight in New Orleans airtime 6:30 on KSYL 970 and 100.3 HD3
There are reports the Saints and future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson are moving closer to agreeing on a three-million dollar contract. Peterson is 32-years-old and played in just three games last season, because of a knee injury.
Coach Ed Orgeron announced yesterday the leader in LSU's open quarterback competition underwent a minor back procedure Monday. Danny Etling has been battling back pain for several months, and the surgery is expected to relieve the pain. Coach O says It's not expected to be a long recovery.
KALB’s reporting Dennis Dunn, the Louisiana College Foot Ball coach will step down from his position with the Wildcats to become Pineville High School's new coach. Pineville will introduce its new head football coach and athletic director at today during a news conference on the school’s campus. Dunn went 65-45 in 11 seasons as LC's coach
News for Monday 042417
By Dave Graichen
The number of people working in Louisiana dropped by 85-hundred between February and March based on the latest employment survey. Louisiana’s employment total is also lower than at this time last year, a sign of weak economy. The state’s unemployment rate is five-point-seven percent, fourth highest in the country.
The investigation continues into the death of a 17 year old Menard student early Sunday morning. The Pineville Police Department reports officers responded to a call regarding an accident on Lallah Street at Military Highway, in which Adam Jeansonne was run over by a vehicle. It’s believed that Jeansonne fell from the bed of a Pickup truck being driven by another 17 year old boy and was subsequently run over by the vehicle’s tire. Jeansonne was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
The attorney for Norris Greenhouse Jr.’s filed a motion Friday that states his client intends to claim self-defense when he goes on trial in June for the attempted murder of Christopher Few and the death of Few’s son. The motion serves as notice to the prosecution that Greenhouse will claim his actions were justified for his defense or for the defense of others.
An agreement between Louisiana State University of Alexandria and Central Louisiana Technical College means students are now able to dual enroll at both schools. The new partnership was one of two made official Friday by leaders of LSUA and CLTCC. The other agreement allows up to 60 hours of general education credits earned at the community college to count toward a bachelor’s degree in psychology or history with a minor in education from LSUA.
The Parc England Hotel and Bistro on the Bayou restaurant, which have been closed since September of last year will be auctioned on May 3. The owner of the properties, Parc England Holdings LLC, has been in bankruptcy since March 2016. The minimum bid for the auction is $650,000. An appraisal completed in October put the value of the hotel and restaurant at close to $2 million dollars.
The House Ways and Means Committee has set aside two days to dive into the intricate Commercial Activity Tax proposed by Governor John Bel Edwards. The CAT is a sales tax businesses pay on their transactions. So far there’s very little support for the proposal. Franklin Representative Sam Jones will present the bill to lawmakers today and he hopes they will change their mind after learning more about it. Jones says so far this is the only plan that’s been presented in this session to deal with the $1.3 billion fiscal cliff in 2018, when the extra penny of the sales tax and other temporary taxes expire.
A convicted killer and rapist was not released on parole on Sunday as originally scheduled. Samuel Galbraith was sentenced in 2000 to 71 years in prison for the brutal murder of 21-year-old Karen Hill, a convenience store clerk in Vernon Parish. The state parole board granted Galbraith’s parole, but it was learned the victim’s mother never received a parole notification letter. It was sent to a different address to a different state. Another hearing will be scheduled in the future.
The Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee will look at a proposal today that would exempt items like diapers and tampons from the state sales tax. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says his bill would acknowledge that these are not luxury items, they’re essential. The proposed constitutional amendment would be put on the ballot for voters, if it’s approved by the legislature. Morrell says other constitutional amendments already exempt essential items like water, food, and prescription drugs from the state sales tax.
An-anti tax group called Truth in Politics says a poll they commissioned finds the public doesn’t want to see their taxes increased. Executive Director Kelli Bottgher says 75 percent of respondents oppose a recommended 23 cent hike on the state’s gasoline tax. The survey also finds 80 percent of respondents say government spends too much, taxes too much, or both
Iberia Parish Sheriff deputies are trying to determine who fatally shot an 80-year-old woman. Officers were called to the scene just before one AM this morning after gunshots were heard in the area. Investigators say they found several bullet holes in the front door of a home and after forcing the door open, the elderly victim was found dead, apparently struck by multiple gunshots.
Last week US Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy met with White House officials seeking an additional $2 billion for flood recovery. Kennedy says he’s thankful for the financial assistance Congress has provided to flood victims, but it is not enough to help the middle class and small businesses fully recover. Congress has already appropriated $1.6 billion in flood recovery.
The Louisiana National Guard says the burn chamber at Camp Minden will be leaving soon. The burn chamber has completed burning thousands of tons explosive material that was left abandon by Explo Systems. There was talk of keeping the chamber operational at Camp Minden to burn more hazardous materials. But area residents opposed such an idea. The Guard says the burn chamber will not be used again at Camp Minden.
Police are searching for three armed men who robbed three other men when their vehicle was broken down on Interstate 10 on the Bonne Carre Spillway. Police say them robbers pulled over and offered help to the victims, before pulling a gun and stealing a wallet, cash, and a cellphone.
A major construction project begins today on the first 8 blocks of Bourbon Street. Director of New Orleans Public Works Col. Mark Jernigan says they’ll remove and replace the existing pavement, drainage lines, waterlines, sewer lines, and gas lines. He says this is much needed repair work on New Orleans’ most historic street. Jernigan says the project will cost a total of $6 million, and construction is expected to wrap up by the end of the year. He says pedestrians will have access to Bourbon Street during construction, even if the block is closed to vehicular traffic.
The LSU Tiger Baseball team dropped the series' rubber match 10-2 yesterday afternoon. By the time the seventh inning had ended, LSU had allowed a season high 17 hits. That topped the mark of 16 set by the Wildcats in Friday’s series opener.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron was not happy with how his quarterbacks played in the spring game. The contest was moved into the indoor practice facility, because of severe weather on Saturday. For the portion of the game that was played in Tiger Stadium, last year’s starter, Danny Etling, was just 4-of-11 for 53 yards and an interception. Orgeron says the play of the quarterbacks on Saturday shows that no one has earned a starting spot.
News for Friday 042117
By Dave Graichen
State Police say charges are pending in the case of a fiery 5-vehicle, 18-wheeler involved crash on I-10 in West Baton Rouge Parish that claimed the life of a man from Alexandria. Trooper Bryan Lee says 26-year-old Ronald Allen was hit by an 18 wheeler from behind while in traffic, then became trapped between two of the big rigs. He says the DA has the case.
The APD reports 44 year old John Matthews of Alexandria has been charged with manslaughter in the death of 27-year-old Anthony Session, a homeless man, found dead in a relative's yard on the night of April 15. Detectives interviewed Matthews on Wednesday and arrested him and booked him into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on the manslaughter charge.
The senate approves legislation that scales back the second amendment sales tax holiday that takes place during the first weekend of September. Sales taxes will be collected on purchases of off-road vehicles, airboats and animal feed, but firearms and ammunition remain tax free. The measure heads to the House.
A very rare April tropical storm has formed over the north Atlantic. The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Arlene, which formed Thursday, has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph. The storm is far from land, about 815 miles west of the Azores. The system is expected to dissipate today. Forecasters say tropical storms are rare in April and Arlene is only the second one observed in the month since weather satellites went into use.
A bill that would require TOPS recipients who leave the state to repay some of their assistance was defeated Thursday in the Senate Education Committee. The party line vote was 4-2 to shelve the measure, with Republicans prevailing. The proposal, Senate Bill 110, would generally require TOPS graduates to repay 50 percent of their assistance if they left the state less than four years later. The same would apply to TOPS recipients who quit school.
Louisiana lost the fight to become the home to the largest ethane cracker plant in the world, as ExxonMobil and Saudi Basic Industries Corp announce the $10 billion plastics complex will be built in Texas instead. Louisiana Chemical Association President Greg Bowser says the Bayou State lost out because of its poor business climate. Exxon cited Texas’ predictable tax climate and high quality school and community college systems as top reasons for choosing the Lone Star State.
Race relations are worsening in eyes of the public, according to a recent LSU survey. Dr. Michael Henderson with the LSU Public Policy Research Lab says the share of people who believe race relations are getting worse rose by almost 20 percent since 2014. He says there’s a racial divide in opinions on whether racial equality exists today.
The Orleans District Attorney’s office says they are disappointed Cardell Hayes was sentenced to 25 years behind bars for a fatal road rage shooting in New Orleans that left former Saints star Will Smith dead. Legal analyst Tim Meche believes Judge Camille Buras handed down a fair sentence. Hayes was facing up to 60 years in prison.
A coalition called Louisianans for Prison Alternatives made their case for criminal justice reform during a rally on the State Capitol steps. Foundation for Louisiana President Flozell Daniels served as a member of the governor’s Justice Reinvestment Task Force and he’s pushing for legislation to reduce the incarceration rate and save the state millions of dollars.
The governor is urging legislators to pass bills that will give some inmates more parole hearings, alternatives to prison and shorter sentences for those who commit non-violent crimes.
The Senate Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committee Thursday favorably sent to the full chamber for debate Senate Bill 127 that would prohibit certain coverings, substances and devices from obstructing a license plate for the purpose of foiling attempts for speed cameras to read it. It also deferred for next week Senate Bill 27 that would require that driver education programs include instruction on the appropriate driver conduct when stopped by a law enforcement officer.
A former personal assistant to U-S District Court Judge Patricia Minaldi has been arrested on charges he stole from her as she was attempting to recover from a condition caused by alcohol abuse. Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s office spokesperson Kim Myers says 28-year-old Justin Gray’s bond was set at 56-thousand dollars.
A Shreveport man has been arrested for pretending to be a state trooper. LSP Trooper Matt Harris says they received a complaint about a door to door steak salesman impersonating a trooper. He says 47-year-old Lester Wells confessed to crime, claiming it helped his sales to portray himself as a state trooper.
Because of the likelihood of rain on Saturday in Lexington, the LSU baseball team will play a doubleheader today against Kentucky airtime 12:30p on KSYL 970 & 100.3. Both games today will be nine innings. There’s no game on Saturday and the series will conclude on Sunday at noon.
On the plus side, with no LSU baseball game Saturday, the LSU Spring Football game will be broadcast in it’s place starting at 6:45p
News for Thursday 042017
By Dave Graichen
Drivers could see a hike in the gasoline tax, if a bill by Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter is approved by the legislature. He says his proposed 17 cent hike would generate 500 million dollars a year for new projects. The bill requires the state to use at least half of the money to begin construction on new megaprojects, like a new bridge in Baton Rouge.
A bill that would allow public school students to bring sunscreen to school without parental consent or a doctor’s note and apply it on their own is heading to the House floor. Ville Platte Representative Harvey LeBas says skin cancer is a major problem and the goal of his bill is to protect kids from sunburns when they go outside for school activities. Currently, it is against the law for children to bring over the counter drugs to school. The measure passed on a 12 to 1 vote.
Governor John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency for Louisiana’s coast. The emergency declaration will be sent to President Trump to raise awareness about this crisis and expedite restoration projects. If nothing is done to protect the coast, Louisiana stands to lose an estimated 22-hundred square miles of coastal land in the next 50 years.
A proposal by Shreveport Representative Cedric Glover would put an end to official university beers. LSU and UL-Lafayette already have their own trademarked suds from local breweries. Glover says colleges branding their own alcohol only encourages underage drinking. Schools say companies already use university colors and logos to promote their beers, and they deserve their fair share of that money. But Glover says if that’s the case, then universities should start paying college athletes their share of the revenue they generate. Glover’s bill will be heard in House Education.
Student body leaders call on the state legislature to fully fund the TOPS scholarship program. Under the governor’s current budget proposal, TOPS is only funded at 70 percent. This year TOPS students had to pay over half of their spring tuition for the first time ever.
A judge rejects a motion for a new trial for Cardell Hayes, the man convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of former Saints star Will Smith. Hayes attorneys had a man testify that he heard two different gunshots on the night Smith was killed, but testimony was reportedly bizarre and now Hayes is set to be sentenced on Friday.
Sex trafficking cases reported in Louisiana rose by 25-percent last year. That’s according to a report by the state Department of Children and Family Services. Child Welfare Consultant Walter Fahr says of that number, 45-percent of those victims were juvenile. He says the highest number of human trafficking reports came from Orleans and Caddo Parishes.
The report identified 447 victims statewide. Six people were arrested yesterday in Bossier City for human trafficking as a result of an undercover prostitution operation.
Governor John Bel Edwards says the state should not get involved in the city of New Orleans’ decision to remove confederate monuments. The city is attempting to hire a contractor to take down three Confederate statues and a monument that city officials say commemorates an attack by a white supremacists. Louisianans from all corners of the state have voiced their opinions on social media. But Edwards says it isn’t the state’s place to get involved. Two different bills have been filed seeking to protect confederate monuments around the state.
North Louisiana is known for its great locations for bass fishing, which is why the Lt. Governor’s office in partnership with the office of tourism and state parks has announced the launch of the Louisiana Bass Trail. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says the trail includes 7 lakes at 8 state parks and he believes this will help attract recreational fishermen from all over.
The DeSoto Parish Coroner’s office says Cameron Anthony Hernandez from Diana, Texas, was killed when a tank exploded near Mansfield Tuesday. A crew was working at the site to clean damage caused by a recent storm.
The Caddo Sheriff’s Office says a nearly 11 foot long alligator shut down traffic on La Highway 1 for nearly an hour early yesterday morning. They said a passerby reported the gator sighting in the middle of the road about 330am and that its tail had been run over by an 18-wheeler. Trappers were called to remove the animal.
News for Wednesday 041917
By Dave Graichen
The RPSO reports Divers located the body of a man who drowned in Cotile Lake late Monday night. Witnesses reported to police that 29 Travis Savage of Alexandria, was swimming with family members and attempted to swim out to a buoy. Savage went underwater about halfway to the buoy, and did not resurface.
A proposal to shorten the waiting period to be granted a divorce for couples with children under the age of 18 moves to the House floor. Homer Representative Patrick Jefferson would reduce the waiting period from a year to six months. Jefferson says resolving a difficult situation sooner helps the kids. President of the Louisiana Family Forum, Gene Mills also opposes the measure. He says the current one year waiting period gives couples more time to resolve their issues if possible.
A Senate committee has approved a bill that would give inmates a chance at parole, if they are serving a life sentence for a murder they committed when they were minors. It has the support of Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson. However, a similar measure failed last year.
Today is the deadline for lawmakers to file tax bills. It’s expected Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter will propose a bill to increase the state’s gasoline tax by 17 cents. We’re also expecting several bills that will change how the state charges sales taxes and eliminate exemptions that currently exist for certain purchases.
Columbia Senator Neil Riser sponsors a bill that would exempt flood victims from having to pay state income taxes for 2017. Under Riser’s proposal, the first $100,000 of income that a family earns this year would be exempt from the state income tax if the family sustained $10,000 or more of losses during 2016 flooding. $50,000 if filing single.) It’s unknown when this bill will have its first hearing.
Cardell Hayes, the man who shot and killed former Saints star Will Smith, will be sentenced today after being convicted of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter. Loyola University Law Professor Dane Ciolino expects Judge Camille Buras already has a sentence in mind for Hayes and it’s most likely a lengthy one. The shooting happened on April 6, 2016 when Hayes rear-ended Smith, which then resulted in the fatal shooting of Smith and the injuring of his wife, Racquel. Ciolino says this is a serious crime, but it’s not murder and Hayes is not a habitual offender.
Southeastern Louisiana University is issuing a promise to incoming freshmen not to raise their tuition, if they commit to completing their degree in four years. University President John Crain says they’re seeing students taking longer and longer to earn a bachelor’s degree, and the Southeastern Promise encourages students to graduate in four years.
Agricultural Commissioner Mike Strain has delayed the sale of Kaput feral hog bait in Louisiana, because of the danger it poses to other animals. Kaput is a poison that can kill wild pigs, but Strain says the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has found black bears can overturn the feeders containing the bait and dump the contents. Louisiana is home to an estimated 600,000 feral hogs, which are prolific breeders. Strain says they are looking into different kinds of feeders that cannot be accessed by other animals. He says another option would be to use a food that bears and other animals don’t want to eat.
LSU fans will get their first glimpse on Saturday of what the Fighting Tigers offense will look like next fall when the Tigers compete in the Spring Game. Senior offensive tackle K.J. Malone of Ruston says it will look a lot different since it will be played under the lights in Death Valley.
The Spring game will get underway at seven o’ clock.
The Tigers exploded for 10 runs on 13 hits to defeat Lamar 10-4 Tuesday night. Up next, the tigers begin a three game weekend series in Kentucky this Friday..
News for Tuesday 041817
By Dave Graichen
Authorities in St. Landry Parish are searching for a missing priest. Father Juilus Ohiaege of Nigeria, was last seen yesterday dropping a fellow priest off at the Lafayette Airport driving a white 2010 Toyota Camry. Father Ohiaege hasn’t been seen or heard from since. His cell phone last pinged in Baton Rouge and Opelousas but is now off.
The House Ways and Means continues its review of the various bills to change Louisiana’s tax structure in an effort to provide more budget stability. Today the panel looks at sales taxes. Houma Representative Tanner Magee has a proposal to lower the state sales tax from five to two-percent, and remove the unnecessary exemptions when a sales tax is not collected. Magee expects some stiff opposition to removing some of the exemptions.
It’s the second week of the legislative session and it looks like lawmakers aren’t anywhere close to agreeing on a funding plan for the budget for next fiscal year. House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says legislators must look over about 150 tax bills and many are still missing vital information. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James says he supports Governor John Bel Edwards’ tax reform plan, which includes getting rid of tax incentives on big corporations and reducing personal income taxes. The Democrat says the governor’s proposals have not gained a lot of traction among Republicans and there no alternatives at this point.
A bill heading to the senate floor would scrap the education tax credit that parents or guardians are able to claim. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says his measure would save the state $11 million. He says that money could be more wisely invested in other education programs.
Nascent (Nay-Cent) Technologies Corporation, on the LSU campus, received two cyber security contracts totalling nearly five-million dollars from the U.S. Department of Defense. N-T-C president Jeff Moulton says they will solve real worldwide problems. He says they’ve been contracted to identify and assess the risk and exposure in the energy industry supply chain.
United Healthcare Children’s Foundation is seeking financial assistance applications from families with children that have medical needs not covered or not fully covered by health insurance. Joe Ochipinti (ahki’pinti), CEO of United Healthcare-Gulf States Region, says grants cover up to $5000 annually per child. Families can apply online at uhccf.org.
The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office has identified they teen they believe stabbed her 47-year-old boyfriend to death in North Louisiana. They say 17-year-old Ronnie Francis is originally from New Orleans but had been living with the victim, Melvin Peterson, in Dubach for 3 months. Francis is charged with Manslaughter and is currently being held in the Lincoln Parish Detention Center.
If you love to eat, LSU needs your help. The Sensory Services Lab on the Baton Rouge campus is recruiting Tiger Tasters to sample tasty new foods before they hit the shelves. Sensory Services Lab Manager Ashley Gutierrez says the AgCenter works with food companies around the country developing new healthy food items. To sign up to be a Tiger Taster, visit the LSU School of Food and Nutrition website.
The LSU baseball team will host Lamar tonight night. The Tigers have won five of their last six after going through a stretch where they lost six of nine. The Tigers are 9-6 in league play and in fourth place in the SEC West, two games back of division leader Arkansas.
The Saints began their offseason workout program Monday. Receiver Willie Snead is participating even though he’s yet to sign his one-year tender offer. Tight end Josh Hill also reportedly showed up yesterday as he continues to rehab from a broken fibula.
Tulane, McNeese State and UL-Lafayette are in first place in their respective conferences or divisions. The Green Wave swept UCONN this past weekend and they are 7-2 in the AAC. The Ragin Cajuns swept Arkansas State and they lead the West Division of the Sun Belt. McNeese State is 16-2 in the Southland after sweeping UNO.
News for Monday 041717
By Dave Graichen
The centerpiece of Governor John Bel Edwards’ plan to overhaul’s Louisiana tax code is expected to be filed today. The measure has been referred to as a gross receipts or Commercial Activity Tax. Publisher of la-politics-dot-com, Jeremy Alford, says there’s very little support for this tax that businesses currently do not pay. Under the bill, any business that has sales over one-point-five million dollars, a portion of those sales are taxed. Many small business owners would be assessed a flat tax. But Alford says even members of the governor’s party are not supportive.
Democratic Shreveport Rep. Cedric Glover has filed a bill that would forbid State Universities, for what he calls health reasons or moral reasons, from partnering with brewers for a university beer. Glover said he is using one of his five allotted bills in a legislative session that’s supposed to focus on fiscal matters, to ban public universities from licensing "official" alcoholic beverages. His House Bill 610 also would forbid LSU and UL-Lafayette from renewing the contracts with local brewers when they expire.
A Baton Rouge lawmaker is pushing for 18-wheelers to be required to drive at least 10 miles lower than the posted speed limit on Interstate highways. Representative Steve Carter filed the legislation after the speed limits were reduced on Atchafalaya Basin Bridge. This measure would also pertain to drivers of school buses and tractor trailers. Carter says multiple other states have similar laws and this would greatly improve safety.
The Humane Society of Louisiana is searching for who is responsible for apparently dragging a pit bull from a moving vehicle in Acadia Parish. Executive Director Jeff Dorson says they have no idea who could have done such a thing to a helpless animal. Dorson says the owner didn’t have the resources to care for the dog, so their members raised over $800 to help pay for the dog’s care.
Although the burning of M6 propellant at Camp Minden in Webster Parish is finished, the job might not be over yet. The Louisiana National Guard could extend their contract with ESI to continue burning hazardous substances there but LSU Shreveport science professor Brian Salvatore wants it to stop. He says the Webster Parish Police Jury passed a resolution in December for the company to remove the burn chamber. But he says they voted again last week and decided to rescind the resolution.
Ochsner Cancer Institute in Jefferson Parish will provide more treatment options, thanks to the hospital’s new Precision Cancer Therapies Program. Medical Director of the program, Dr. Marc Matrana (Muh-tron-ah) says this program connects Louisiana cancer patients with access to cutting-edge, early-phase clinical trials, something currently not available in our state.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has scheduled a drawdown of Lake Bistineau to control rapidly growing giant salvinia. LDWF Biologist Manager Jeff Sibley says the drawdown, set for May 1st, is a little bit earlier this year in order to get the situation back under control.
The LSU tigers took their weekend series against Ole’ Miss with a 3 to 2 victory Saturday afternoon. The Tigers will take on Lamar tomorrow night.
News for Thursday 041317
By Dave Graichen
The group Truth in Politics seeks to tell Louisiana residents the truth about Governor John Bel Edwards’s tax plan. Executive Director Kelli Bottger says they are launching a digital ad campaign to keep lawmakers from raising taxes on businesses. The Governor’s Office referred to TIP has a deep-pocketed special interest group.
The Louisiana Budget Project has (also) studied Governor Edwards’ tax plan and determined 95 percent of Louisiana taxpayers would receive a tax cut. L-B-P executive director Jan Moeller says the largest tax cut would go to those individuals earning between 36-and-56-thousand dollars a year. Moller says only the top five-percent of wage earners would pay higher taxes.
Higher education leaders made their case during a legislative budget hearing to not cut state funding to public colleges. Governor John Bel Edwards proposed budget calls for a 17-million dollar reduction in funding for campuses. Louisiana Community and Technical College President Monty Sullivan says their institutions can’t keep doing more with less. Since 2008, Louisiana has reduced state funding to its public colleges by 700-million dollars. President F King Alexander says the LSU School system is looking at its 17th cut in nine-and-a-half years.
Southeastern Louisiana University has received the largest single donation in its history. Mike Rivault with SLU says Seth Ryan, a 1953 grad, donated $10 million to go towards scholarships for women majoring in STEM programs. He says in his honor, the university is going to rename the Biology Building on campus after Ryan’s wife. He says Ryan wanted to provide opportunities for women because his wife was not able to attend college.
College Choice ranks Louisiana Tech’s elementary education program as the fourth best in the country and first in the state. College of Education Dean Dr. Don Schillinger says if they can produce better teachers, it will have a lasting impact on elementary education in Louisiana. He’s hopeful this ranking will attract more student to LA Tech.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser has written a letter to President Trump asking him to protect Louisiana’s confederate monuments. The letter comes after the New Orleans City Council voted to remove the monuments in place around the city. Nungesser says the memorials have been in place for a hundred years, and if you try to erase history, it has a habit of repeating itself.
A Baton Rouge contractor was indicted yesterday on 51 counts of fraud, theft and other charges in Livingston Parish, shortly after pleading not guilty to 84 counts of contractor fraud in Ascension Parish. The judge ordered 39-year-old Matthew Morris to be held without bail. The charges come after Morris allegedly defrauded nearly 30 flood victims after the August flood.
The man who New Orleans police say was behind the wheel when he plowed into a crowd of Mardi Gras parade goers pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday. 25-year-old Nielson Rizzuto is facing multiple counts for the February 25th incident.
The on-demand food delivery app, Waitr, recently added a web ordering option and restaurants are already benefiting. Chief Marketing Officer for Waitr, Sonny Mayugba (My-ou-ba), says Waitr is currently available in the majority of the Bayou State, except for Alexandria, which is expected to be on board soon. Waitr was founded in Lake Charles in 2015 and over 2-thousand restaurants currently partner with the company.
A north Louisiana lawmaker seeks to end bullying in Louisiana schools with a comprehensive bill waiting to be heard in this legislative session. Shreveport senator and attorney John Milkovich says his bill requires that instances of bullying be reported to law enforcement within 24 hours. The bill also gives teachers the power take all steps necessary to prevent bullying and keep students safe, including using physical force. Milkovich says this would prevent teachers from being suspended for breaking up fights. The bill will first be heard by the Senate education committee. A hearing date has not been scheduled.
Louisiana’s top highway safety official says distracted driving is becoming a “dangerous epidemic” in the state and will only get better when those behind the wheel modify their behaviors. Louisiana Highway Safety Commission Executive Director Katara Williams is reminding drivers to stay attentive to what is happening on the road, as April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. According to LHSC, 192 people were killed in Louisiana from 2011 to 2015 because of some distraction.
A 71-year-old man from Baker is under arrest amid allegations he locked his 13-year-old son in a horse trailer overnight as punishment. The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office says Douglas O’Neal told authorities that whipping the victim was no longer working so he decided to put the teen in the trailer with manure inside.
The former Louisiana State Museum interim director Tim Chester claims Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser has used museum’s property for his own personal use and caused political interference with the agency’s operations. Nungesser says Chester is an angry old man.
The Pelicans finished their season on an up note last night with a 103 to 100 win over the Portland Trailblazers. The Birds finish the season with a 34 – 48 record..
LSU returns to SEC play tonight as the Tigers host Ole Miss for the start of a three-game series. Hear tonight’s game starting at 6 on KSYL 970 and 100.3 HD3.
News for Wednesday 041217
By Dave Graichen
The Rapides Parish School Board voted yesterday to take no action on its controversial plan to close and consolidate schools for the upcoming school year. The Board said it was the outpouring of public concern that led to their decision. The decision was met with a standing ovation from those in the audience.
For the second time since taking office, Governor John Bel Edwards will face Attorney General Jeff Landry in court. Landry is suing the governor after the administration withheld 4 million dollars from the AG’s operating fund. But the governor says Landry has not legal claim to the money, which came from a 2014 pharmaceutical settlement.
The House Ways and Means Committee began looking at various tax proposals Tuesday that will be discussed over the next several weeks. Jackson Representative Kenny Havard is pushing legislation that lowers income taxes on residents and asks businesses to pay a little more. A vote was not taken on Havard’s proposed legislation. There are over 140 tax bills filed in the House.
Most Louisiana residents approve of Medicaid expansion, according to an LSU survey. Director of the LSU Public Policy Research Lab, Dr. Michael Henderson says 72 percent of respondents approve of the state expanding government-funded health care insurance. He says the survey also found more people approve of the Affordable Care Act.
Louisiana is down to just three abortion clinics statewide, as Bossier City Medical Suites has closed. Executive Director of the New Orleans Abortion Fund, Amy Irvin says the only remaining clinics are in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Shreveport. She says this closure will greatly impact Louisiana women seeking an abortion.
For a fifth consecutive year, Louisiana broke a record for tourism. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says in 2016, the state welcomed a record 47 million visitors, which is more than a 2 percent increase over the previous year. He says tourists spent an average of $360 a person. Nungesser says the revenue represents a 40-to-1 return on investment.
There’s a split opinion in the business community over whether the state should increase the state’s gasoline tax to pay for better roads. A coalition of business groups are supporting it, but Dawn Starns, state director of the National Federation of Independent business, says a majority of small businesses oppose a gas tax hike. Lawmakers are expected to take up bills that would increase the gasoline tax by at least seven-cents a gallon.
An Easter egg hunt with numerous children in attendance turned violent when a Thibodaux man’s ex-girlfriend showed up with a shovel handle and began beating him with it. The man then returned the favor. They both face aggravated battery charges. The altercation took place in front of the man’s wife and child.
The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating an early morning incident in which they believe a person or persons drove by a bunch of houses and cars and started shooting at random. Chief Deputy Mike Haley says they received reports of gunfire in Mt. Hermon around 4am. He says the investigation is ongoing.
It was a good night for the LSU Tiger Baseball team as they defeated UL-Lafayette, 3-2, in the Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic at the box. Up next, the tigers begin a 3 game series against Ole’ Miss Thursday night.
The New Orleans Pelicans called in another one last night as they lost to the Lakers 96 – 108
The birds are now 33 and 48 on the season. They have one game left that’s tonight at Portland. Airtime 9p on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3
News for Tuesday 041117
By Dave Graichen
This evening the Rapides Parish School Board will decide at a special meeting whether or not to proceed with a vote on school closures and consolidations recommended by the district. Prior to the meeting, there will be an opportunity for public comment. The recommendations were presented partially out of concern for failing schools with a high number of substitutes and vacancies, with the district suggesting as many as 50 teaching positions would be cut. The meeting is scheduled for 5 this evening.
An 18 year old Pineville man lost his life yesterday afternoon on Indian Creek when he dove from the bow of a boat into the water and never resurfaced. RPSO deputies recovered the body of Orlando Banks a short time later. Banks was a student at Alexandria Senior High.
The 2017 Legislative session is officially underway in Baton Rouge. Governor John Bel Edwards spoke to lawmakers in a joint session and outlined what he hopes to see accomplished over the next two months. He said among his proposals, he wants to model Louisiana’s sales tax structure utilizing best practices from other states. He urged lawmakers to take a serious look at what we can do to better invest in our state’s roads — Increase minimum wage and support equal pay. And work to reduce the state’s highest-in-the-world incarceration rate. He says the most important thing they all must do, is work together. He said he hopes politics and partisanship don’t blur the path to the goal. The session must end by noon on June 8th.
The legislative session is in full swing, and Governor John Bel Edwards told lawmakers now is the time to implement comprehensive tax reform, so Louisiana can end the cycle of midyear budget cuts. The governor’s proposals would increase taxes on many businesses, but lower rates for individuals. This will be the last time law makers can deal with fiscal issues until 2019. The legislative session will last for two months.
The governor also wants to pour more money into Louisiana’s roads. In so many words, he announced his support for an increase to the gasoline tax. There’s been talk of raising the gas tax anywhere between seven and 17-cents.
The House Ways and Means committee today begins pouring over some of the proposals included in the governor’s tax plan. John Bel Edwards ambitious proposal will increase taxes on many businesses, but he says it will lead to lower income taxes for 90-percent of the taxpayers. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James is confident once more details of the plan come out, there will be ample support. But West Monroe Senator Mike Walsworth says Louisiana has one of the lowest income tax rates in the nation. He’s concerned about putting too much of the tax burden on businesses and losing jobs. He says lawmakers need to be cautious about lowering taxes for individuals and getting businesses to foot the bill.
Gas prices are on the rise as the summer driving season approaches. AAA Fuel Analyst Don Redman says the statewide average of $2.19 is about 7 cents higher than the prior week which is typical for this time of year. Gas prices are at their highest level since January.
A Chinese chemical company chooses Louisiana over Texas to build a 1.1 billion dollar manufacturing complex. State Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says this will help Louisiana grow as a global leader in chemical manufacturing and he says the project by Wanhua (Wan-hwah) Chemical Group will bring 170 new direct jobs to the state. LED estimates the project will also result in 945 indirect jobs. The specific location of the site will be decided later in the year.
Another study by LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott finds the return isn’t there when it comes to state’s film tax credits program as the report shows it causes a significant hit to Louisiana’s budget. Scott says the return of investment was 22-percent in 2016.
Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says he will resign if the federal government is the reason flood victims have not yet received any federal assistance. Graves made the comments on a Baton Rouge Talk Show, also issuing a call for Governor John Bel Edwards to do the same. The governor’s communications director, Richard Carbo, denies the state is holding up the process and instead blames red tape with the federal government. Carbo says Graves comments are not helping homeowners.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has granted Louisiana access to start dispensing 1.6 billion dollars to flooded homeowners in federal aid. Deputy Chief of Staff for the Governor Julie Baxter Payer says this will finally allow the state to move forward with recovery plans. Payer says an action plan had to be submitted to HUD in order to spend the money, which is why the process of receiving funds took so long. Payer expects to have a contractor in place within the next week who will manage the Homeowner Assistance Program.
After taking two of three from Arkansas, LSU is once again back in the top ten in three major college baseball polls heading into tonight’s matchup against UL Lafayette. Airtime 6:30 pn KSYL 970 & 100.3 HD3
The pelicans are in LA tonight to take on the Lakers in the next to last game of the season. Airtime 9p on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3
News for Monday 041017
By Dave Graichen
Christopher Few, the father of the 6-year-old boy killed in the 2015 slow-speed chase with deputy marshals in Avoyelles Parish, was booked Saturday evening on domestic abuse Charges. Deputies received a call around 5 p.m. Saturday from a woman who said she had been in an argument that turned physical with her boyfriend. Avoyelles Parish Sheriff Doug Anderson says Upon arrival at a residence, deputies found the woman had marks on her neck and she told them Few had choked her. Sheriff Anderson reports Few is also wanted in St. Landry Parish on at least two warrants for theft. Few remains in Avoyelles Parish Jail, his bond has yet to be set.
State Police report an early Sunday morning single vehicle crash claimed the life of a Montgomery man. Troopers say 26 year old Dewayne Lambert was traveling at a high rate of speed on US Hwy 71, near the Winn/Grant Parish line when he lost control and struck a tree. Lambert, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.
TOPS, criminal justice reform and proposals to raise the gasoline tax are some of the big topics up for discussion as the legislative session begins today. There are bills filed that raise the minimum GPA to qualify for the TOPS scholarship. There’s also a push to raise the state’s gasoline tax, which is currently 20-cents. Many lawmakers are concerned that the additional revenues will not go towards their intended purpose. Governor John Bel Edwards is pushing for criminal justice reform as part of his legislative agenda.
Even Democrats are unsure about the Governor John Bel Edwards ambitious tax plan that he’s asking lawmakers to pass during the legislative session. Edwards’ proposal calls for a new tax that would be placed on the state’s largest businesses. Minden Representative Gene Reynolds heads the state Democratic Caucus and says getting the necessary 70 votes in the House will be a challenge. Lawmakers won’t have another chance to revisit the state’s tax code until the next fiscal session in 2019.
Governor John Bel Edwards has some big priorities for the legislative session that begins Today. One of those is raising the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour, a hike he calls modest but meaningful. Edwards says in 2017, $7.25 an hour is inadequate to pay for the basic cost of living. Edwards adds several other states have already increased their minimum wage well above the federal minimum.
Flood impacted homeowners can now fill out a survey to see if they qualify for federal assistance. The Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Julie Baxter Payer says this is a very important first step for homeowners who were affected by the March and August 2016 floods. She says they need to know what their recovery needs are now. The survey can be found online at restore.la.gov.
A man from Baton Rouge is in big trouble for allegedly cashing his dead mother’s state retirement checks for 18 years. Attorney General Jeff Landry says 42-year-old Lester Joseph stole over $400 thousand from the state’s Teacher’s Retirement System. Joseph is charged with 201 counts of felony theft and two counts of identity theft.
A bill to raise the minimum age of strippers to 21 is back again for this legislative session. A similar measure passed last year but the law was recently temporarily blocked by a judge over broad wording. That’s why Lake Charles Representative Ronnie Johns says he’s trying again. He says the judge didn’t seem to have an issue with the age restriction aspect.. Johns says many victims who are brought into Louisiana end up working in strip clubs. He says the new bill is a clarification of the original goal of putting some type of a dent into the human trafficking trade.
Neil Gorsuch will be sworn in as the Supreme Court’s 101st associate justice today, and Louisiana’s junior U.S. Senator, John Kennedy, is praising Friday’s confirmation. Kennedy says Gorsuch is the right choice as he truly understands how to interpret the law, not make it.
Former Sons of Guns reality TV star Will Hayden has been found guilty on both counts of aggravated rape for which he was on trial. The jury only took a little more than an hour to make the call, and the verdict was unanimous and comes with a mandatory life sentence. Hayden’s conviction is for raping two young girls over the course of two decades.
The widow of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith is suing the man convicted of killing her husband. Racquel Smith filed in Orleans Parish Civil Court on Friday, seeking damages from Cardell Hayes. The 29-year-old is awaiting sentencing for murdering Smith and injuring Racquel. Hayes faces between 20 and 60 years in prison.
A New Orleans lawmaker has filed a bill that would eliminate the state sales tax when purchasing feminine products. Senator J.P. Morrell’s measure would exempt items like tampons and diapers. Supporter of the bill, executive director of Lift Louisiana, Michelle Ehrenberg, says these products are not luxury items for women. Ehrenberg says this is common sense legislation.
LSU took a crucial road series behind a brilliant outing from Eric Walker in a 2-0 win over Arkansas Sunday. The Tigers lost the opening game of the series Friday night. But, Saturday was a different story. Arkansas carried a six-run lead, 8-2, into the top of the eighth inning. LSU won by two runs, 10-8, by the bottom of the ninth. The Tigers play UL-Lafayette Tuesday night.
With just two games left to the season, the New Orleans Pelicans lost to the Golden State Warriors Saturday Night 101 to 123. The Pels visit the Lakers Tuesday night and finish up a disappointing season at Portland Wednesday.
News for Friday 040717
By Dave Graichen
The National Weather Service has confirmed at least 17 tornadoes hit Louisiana on Sunday and Monday during that severe weather outbreak. One of the twisters killed two people, including a three-year-old girl near Breaux Bridge. Injuries from twisters were also reported in Catahoula and Franklin Parish. Thankfully, there is no severe weather in the forecast for the rest of this week.
A report from United Way finds 42 percent of Louisiana families can’t afford their basic needs. Dr. Stephanie Hoopes of Rutgers University authored the report. She says we’re seeing an increase in the number of families that are Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed, or ALICE, because cost of living is going up and inflation is not. ALICE families make up at least 25 percent of the population in every parish.
The State Department of Natural Resources says the controversial Bayou Bridge Pipeline project can move forward. DNR Spokesperson Patrick Courreges (Koo-rezge) says after a permit was submitted, the DNR took public comment and reviewed the plans. The state Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corp on Engineers still have to approve the pipeline.
Governor John Bel Edwards was at a Walgreens in Baton Rouge yesterday to announce the pharmacy will have safe drug disposals at a dozen of their stores around the state to dispose old prescriptions. Health officials say narcotic overdoses have surpassed homicide deaths in Orleans and East Baton Rouge.
Louisiana Economic Development announces Lotte Chemical is moving their headquarters from Houston to Lake Charles. LED Secretary Don Pierson says Lotte already has a chemical plant under construction at the junction of Interstates 10 and 210. He says this is a big win for the Bayou State. Pierson says the company is also teaming up with Westlake Chemical to build a roughly $3 Billion Dollar Facility.
Former Sons of Guns star Will Hayden took the witness stand today, denying allegations he sexually assaulted two preteen girls, only hours after a 15-year-old accuser became ill detailing the alleged rape. Hayden is being tried on two counts of aggravated rape of the girl, and another count of forcible rape from the early 90s
The Louisiana Survey finds 91 percent of Louisianans support equal pay for equal work. But Dr. Michael Henderson with the LSU Public Policy Research Lab says there are gender and party differences in how people view gender discrimination. He says this could lead to some divide on equal pay legislation. A majority of Democrats believe there’s at least some discrimination, while only 11 percent of Republicans agree.
The hurricane forecast team at Colorado State is calling for a slightly below-average 2017 Hurricane Season. They are predicting 11 named storms and four hurricanes. Lead Researcher Dr. Phil Klotzbach says the primary reason is the predicted development of an El Nino in the Pacific Ocean.
A student who used to play football for UL-Lafayette but was kicked off the team in March, has been accused of raping someone in a residence hall. According to campus police, Artez Williams was booked into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center on a charge of second degree rape with a $100,000 bond. He was reportedly removed from the Ragin Cajuns team last month for a violation of team rules.
The Department of Transportation has broken ground on a project to widen a 7 mile section of Interstate 10 from I-49 to the Atchafalaya Basin. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says they are replacing the original pavement and widening it to three lanes. He says this will increase the interstate’s capacity for the 60-thouasnd people who drive this stretch of highway every day.
Wilson says construction will begin in May, and the project is expected to take two years to complete.
The Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival gets underway today and lasts all weekend. The Festival is the second largest free festival in the state next to Mardi Gras. Also this weekend, the Boggy Bayou festival takes place in Pine Prairie.
The LSU baseball team begins a huge series tonight in Fayetteville against the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Hogs are tied for first in the SEC West with a 7-2 record, while the Tigers are 5-4 and have lost their last two conference series. Hear the game tonight beginning at 6 on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3fm.
After losing to the Nuggets earlier this week at home, the Pelicans take it to Denver tonight with the hopes of some revenge. Airtime 7:30 on ESPN1410 & 93.1 HD3.
News for Thursday 040617
By Dave Graichen
On Wednesday, the Rapides Parish Police Jury warned residents of the Penny Acres subdivision, including Isabella and Bowie drives, that they should expect rising water over the next few days "with possible flooding." Both roads are closed to traffic.. Thu Jury asked motorists not drive their vehicles through the waters. Sandbags for residents are available at the Rapides Parish Fire District #2 station on Ransbottom Drive.
State Police report a Tuesday night crash between two vehicles led to the death of a 62-year-old Clarence man. The troopers report says Moises Baines was driving eastbound on La. Highway 6 when he rear-ended a vehicle driven by 21 year old Crystal Smith of Natchitoches. Baines was killed in the crash while Smith and a juvenile passenger both suffered minor injuries. All were wearing seatbelts.
Republican lawmakers criticized Governor John Bel Edwards’ handling of the deadly August flood during a Congressional hearing in Washington D.C. yesterday. Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz says he doesn’t understand how one-point-six billion dollars in flood recovery dollars approved by Congress last year still hasn’t made it into the hands of flood victims. Edwards says the state is waiting for the federal government to make the money available so the state can use it. Something it has yet to do.
There’s talk of raising the gasoline tax by as much as 17 cents a gallon in the upcoming legislative session. Franklin Representative Sam Jones has a bill to raise the gasoline tax. He says the state’s current 20-cent gasoline tax is not addressing a 13-billion dollar backlog of transportation needs.
The Louisiana District Attorney’s Association supports recommendations to reduce sentences for non-violent offenders, but they oppose proposals to provide parole consideration for certain juvenile killers and inmates who have been behind bars for decades. Executive Director Pete Adams says they fully support addressing criminal justice reform, but careful consideration must be done to ensure dangerous criminals who pled down to non-violent offenses are not released.
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy is behind legislation that seeks to address the growing obesity rate in America. Cassidy says the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act would make weight loss treatment more accessible to those on Medicare. He says the bill allows Medicare to cover the cost of new prescription drugs for chronic weigh management. Cassidy says healthcare costs related to obesity total nearly $200 billion each year, and reducing the obesity rate could save federal healthcare dollars.
Attorney General Jeff Landry is working to end the opioid epidemic in Louisiana with the new Opioid Abuse Prevention Fund. Landry says that fund will pay for an informational campaign complete with a website, advertisements, printed materials, and community outreach. Landry says the fund will be paid for through a partnership with Louisiana Ambulance Alliance and Amphastar Pharmaceuticals. He says rebates from medications that treat opioid overdoses will pay for the cost of the campaign.
Ride sharing services like Uber support a pre-filed bill that would let the state put rules on how they operate. Jackson Representative Kenny Havard says right now the regulations are set at the local level which is confusing, and his bill would also make rates the same everywhere.
Former St. Tammany and Washington Parish District Attorney Walter Reed received a four-year prison sentence on corruption charges. A jury determined Reed was guilty of using his campaign funds illegally, but legal observers expected a longer sentence. Reed will remain out of prison, until his appeal is heard.
At LSU Pro Day, running back Leonard Fournette weighed in at 228, 12 pounds lighter than what the scale read at the NFL combine a month ago. Fournette ran a 4.51 at the Combine last month, but chose not to run again yesterday. The New Orleans native left LSU as the school’s fourth leading rusher, but he missed several games last year because of an ankle injury. Fournette says he’s told NFL teams that he’s healthy…
News for Wednesday 040517
By Dave Graichen
The APD reports two shootings in the city Monday left one man dead. Around 3 in the afternoon police report the found a 62 year old man lying face down on a bicycle trail near the levee on 16th Street. The unidentified man was taken to a local hospital where Doctors found a bullet wound in the man's head. Neither the man's identity nor his condition was released. Later Monday night police report a man was shot on Ball Powell Lane. It is reported the man dies at the scene. While the investigations are ongoing, Officials don't believe at this time that the two shootings are related.
The plea date in the case of a man charged in a May 2016 wreck that killed a Ball girl has been moved to June. Both the state and defense agreed to continue the plea date for 24 year Micah Baden to June 19. Baden was charged in the May 17, 2016, crash that killed 16-year-old Chloe R. James. He was charged with vehicular homicide, possession of a controlled dangerous substance and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile with drugs.
The Town Talk reports A subsidiary of British power company Drax Group was the winning bidder in the recent auction of a bankrupt pellet plant in Urania. The $35.4 million bid by Drax Biomass Inc. for Louisiana Pellets Inc. is expected to be approved by a federal bankruptcy court judge, and the sale could be finalized this month. The Urania plant can produce about 450,000 metric tons of wood pellets per year, putting in on par with Drax's current Louisiana facility, in Morehouse Parish That plant employs nearly 60 people.
Business leaders in Louisiana are coming together to support the passage of a higher gas tax. The new coalition is called Businesses United for Improving Louisiana’s Development by Investing in Transportation. Baton Rouge Area Chamber President Adam Knapp says the organization will back proposals to increase the state’s gasoline tax to fund highway construction.
Governor Edwards announced yesterday he supports legislation that seeks to reduce opioid abuse. River Ridge Representative Kirk Talbot says research indicates the Bayou State has more opioid prescriptions than people. Talbot is co-authoring a bill that would limit first-time prescriptions of opioids for acute pain to a seven-day supply for adults.
Governor John Bel Edwards is once again asking lawmakers to increase the state’s minimum wage and guarantee equal pay for equal work. Both measures failed in last year’s session. Political analyst Clancy Dubos says raising the minimum wage is never easy. Edwards says he supports a Senate bill that raises the minimum wage to $8.50 over a two year period. The Louisiana Workforce Commission says the minimum wage has not been increased since 2009. Fellow political analyst Bernie Pinsonat he doesn’t foresee these bills getting any more traction this year than they have in the past. The legislative session begins Monday.
The 2017 Louisiana Survey indicates 75% of voters support criminal justice reform when it comes to shorter sentences for non-violent crimes. But Michael Henderson, Director of the LSU Public Policy Research Lab, says support for shorter sentences declines when respondents were asked about crimes involving fraud, burglary or selling illegal drugs. Criminal justice reform is a part of Governor Edwards’ legislative agenda.
46 men and women graduate this morning from the Louisiana State Police Training Academy. This is L-S-P’s 95th Cadet Class. Sgt. Jared Sandifer says they lost about 20 cadets during training, but the ones who made it through the vigorous 22-week training program are the state’s best and the brightest. Sandifer says the 46 new troopers will be spread out across the state.
Governor John Bel Edwards testifies before a Congressional panel today looking at FEMA’s response to the deadly flooding last August in south Louisiana. The Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Julie Baxter Payer says Edwards will be accompanied by local officials who can also testify on the roadblocks to recovery.
Shreveport restaurant owner Mark Colby will spend the rest of his life behind bars after killing his girlfriend and business partner Angela Godley. Caddo Assistant DA Brittney Green says the 2014 murder rocked the community, because Godley was well known business owner and a former cardiac care nurse. Godley was found dead in the laundry room of the couple’s home in September of 2014.
A Ruston hospital is closing, which is bad news for employees and patients. LifeCare Specialty hospital employs 167 people and has a total of 175 hospital beds between its Ruston and Shreveport campuses. Firing will reportedly begin next week, with final terminations taking place in June.
New Orleans has opened up the bidding process to take down three Confederate monuments in the city and only one bidder, Cuzan Services Limited, submitted a proposal for 600-thousand dollars. That’s three times more than the Crescent City budgeted for.
The No. 13 LSU baseball team scored 13 runs on 15 hits to roll past Grambling State University, 13-2, Tuesday night at the Box. With the win, LSU improved to 20-10 on the season while Grambling fell to 9-19.Up next, the Tigers begin a 3 game weekend series at Arkansas.
Last night was a tough won for the New Orleans Pelicans. They lost at home 131 to 134 to the Denver Nuggets. But, the hope to get revenge as they follow the Nuggets back to Denver for a Friday night matchup..
It’s Pro Day at LSU, a chance for every professional football franchise to get a look at the former Tigers eligible for next month’s NFL draft. Each player will be measured, perform a bench press drill and timed in various running drills. Some mock drafts have running back Leonard Fournette’s stock falling, but NFL analyst Mike Detillier doesn’t see it. Detillier says safety Jamal Adams is also expected to be a top eight pick.
News for Tuesday 040417
By Dave Graichen
Recovery efforts are underway from the severe weather that damaged homes and killed two people. Spokesperson for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Mike Steele says they are working with parish leaders in hard hit areas to see what kind of assistance is needed. He says preliminary damage assessment teams will survey the destruction. Steele says Rapides seems to be the hardest hit parish, but this was an unusual weather event that affected nearly every corner of the state. Steele and Governor Edwards were in Alexandria and Breaux Bridge yesterday to see the damage first hand.
Two measures that would raise the minimum GPA for high school students to receive the TOPS scholarship have been filed for the upcoming legislative session. Currently students are required to receive a 2.5 cumulative GPA and the proposed legislation raises that to a 3.0. Minden Representative Gene Reynolds authored one of the bills. Reynolds says raising standards is a good way to make the program more cost effective.
Victims of last year’s devastating floods will be asked to fill out a survey soon to see if they are eligible for the federally funded homeowner assistance program. Congress has appropriated 1.6 billion that will soon become available. The Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Julie Baxter Payer says the first step for every homeowner who needs assistance is to fill out the survey at restore.la.gov. Payer says the survey will be available Monday, and flood victims can learn more about the homeowner assistance program online.
Louisiana is the second most stressed state, according to a report by WalletHub. Michelle Many (Main-ee) with LSU Health New Orleans believes that’s because so many in the Bayou State are poor. The report finds Louisiana’s crime rate is the fourth worst in the nation and Louisiana has the 4th highest rate of adults in poor health.
LSU is working to secure a contractor to cover the costs of growing the state’s medical marijuana. Parks Senator Fred Mills says they’re working to make sure the pharmaceutical grade product is consistently delivered, because they can’t get this wrong.
A University of New Orleans poll finds President Donald Trump approval rating in Louisiana is at 58-percent, which equals the 58-percent received from the state’s voters in November. A recent Gallup poll found President Trump’s approval rating at 38-percent nationwide. The survey also shows a majority of independents and third party members also approve of the president.
The LSU baseball team returns to the diamond tonight for the first time since Saturday’s stunning loss to Texas A&M. The Tigers led that game 3-0 in the 9th inning, but ended up losing 4-to-3. Tonight, the Tigers face Grambling . Airtime 6p on KSYL 970 & 100.3 HD3
Pro wrestling is coming back to Alexandria. The Rapides Parish Coliseum will host the WWE Live SummerSlam Heatwave Tour on June 10. Among the WWE stars to appear are Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, women's champion Bayley, tag team champions Gallows and Anderson and cruiserweight champion Neville. Tickets go on sale April 14. Through Ticketmaster.com It's the first time in four years WWE has come to the coliseum.
After losing to the Bulls Sunday night, The Pelicans hope to turn things around tonight with a win over the Denver Nuggets. You can hear the game beginning at 6:30 on ESPN 1410 and 93.1 HD3.
News for Monday 040317
By Dave Graichen
All Rapides Parish schools will be closed Monday following widespread power outages caused by severe weather. Holy Savior Menard High School, Our Lady of Prompt Succor School and St. Frances Cabrini School also cancelled classes, but other parochial schools will be open, according to the Diocese of Alexandria. Other private schools closed include University Academy of Central Louisiana, Alexandria Country Day School, the Montessori Educational Center, Grace Christian School and Alpine Christian School. Other districts with cancelled classes Monday include Grant and LaSalle. Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana State University of Alexandria and Central Louisiana Technical Community College also cancelled classes Monday.
It was a day most here in Louisiana won’t forget for a while. Band after band of severe weather rolled across the state Sunday causing widespread damage and power outages. In south Louisiana a mother and daughter were killed when their trailer flipped over in St. Martin Parish.
What was believed to be a small tornado touched down in several spots in Alexandria knocking down trees and bending over billboards along Mac Arthur drive. The good news, there have been no reports of serious injuries from the storm in Cenla.
A deadly fire claimed the life of a 96-year-old Deville Friday night. A second occupant of the home, the victim’s son, 68 year old David Cole, was transported to Cabrini Hospital after suffering 2nd and 3rd degree burns to his face and hands. The body of Lela Cole was found inside the home after the fire was extinguished. Fire officials say the home had no working smoke alarms at the time of the fire.
Speed enforcement cameras would be taken down around the state, under a proposal to be discussed in the regular session. Covington Representative Paul Hollis says these cameras deny people their constitutional right to confront their accuser. He says he’s uncomfortable turning the duties of police over to robots and cameras.
The former Marksville officer who fatally shot a 6-year-old boy has been sentenced to 40 years behind bars. Derrick Stafford testified he didn’t know the little boy was in the vehicle when he fired his weapon after a car chase. Stafford faced a maximum sentence of 60 years.
Two suspects have been arrested in connection with back to back break-ins at both Tioga High School and Tioga Junior High that caused extensive damage to the interior of the schools. Police say 17-year-olds Cody Blakeny and Shane Johnson both of Rapides Parish will face charges of burglary and criminal damage.
A bill by Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor could put an end to the death penalty in Louisiana for first degree rape and murder convictions. Claitor says the death penalty cheapens life, as his catholic religion teaches all life is sacred. The bill would not affect inmates currently on death row.
A measure in the Governor’s proposed criminal justice package for the regular session seeks to improve police training. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James authors a bill that strengthens requirements for the Council on Peace Officer Standards and Training, or POST. James says this bill requires all officers to complete 400 hours of this training, with an additional 20 hours annually. James is optimistic this modernized training can help ease tensions and build trust between law enforcement and the public.
Seven companies have submitted bids with the LSU Ag Center to produce medical marijuana that would one day be used for patients, who suffer from specific diseases. The estimated cost is 10-million dollars. LSU is expected to select a contractor by June, who will pay for the production costs. The facility will be located off of LSU’s campus and the first crop should be ready by the end of 2017.
The first 8 blocks of Bourbon Street will undergo their first renovation in nearly a century. After French Quarter fest, city officials say crews will begin the $6 million project of replacing the roadway and water lines two blocks at a time. Each segment is expected to take 60 days to complete, and the entire project is projected to finish up by the end of the year.
Louisiana is one step close to getting flood recover dollars into the hands of flood victims, as HUD has approved the state’s spending plan for the federal funds. Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves is disappointed the state does not have a contractor lined up yet. The Governor expects to have a program manager in place in the coming weeks, and funds are expected to start rolling out shortly after.
The popularity of essential oils are on the rise for massages and air fresheners, but they also poses a greater risk to children. Louisiana Poison Center Managing Director Dr. Mark Ryan says more and more children are accidentally ingesting these oils which can lead to seizures or liver damage.
The online donation campaign CrowdRelief is working to replace items families lost in the floods. Founder Rob Gaudet says all the household items that were piled up on the side of the road after the flood need to be replaced. He says flood victims can fill out a survey online, and then a CrowdRelief volunteer will meet with them to hear their story and take pictures of their rebuilding. Once approved, the site lists specific items that flood victims need replaced next to the story of the family seeking help. To donate or apply for assistance, visit CrowdRelief.net.
A cruel April Fool’s joke was played on the LSU baseball team on Saturday. Up 3-0 in the 9th inning, pitcher Caleb Gilbert and the Tigers gave up 4 runs and ended up losing to Texas A&M 4-3 and lose the series to the Aggies. Coach Paul Mainieri says the defeat was a hard punch to the stomach. The loss drops LSU’s record to 5-4 in the SEC.
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