KSYL Local News

News For Friday 10/21/16

News for Friday 102116

By Dave Graichen


It’s been a long time coming, but City Council President Lee Rubin announced yesterday   during a candidate forum, that the that those long-awaited utility rebates are coming up for council consideration within a couple of months. If approved the rebates, which come from the 2010 Cleco settlement, would most likely apply to city utility customers from 1995 to 2005. The rebates have been delayed for years because due to related litigation.


A much-anticipated cool front has made its way through the state and temperatures are much more fall-like. Freddie Ziegler, with the National Weather Service in Slidell, says the temps are about 10 to 15 degrees cooler than they were the day before. Ziegler says the humidity is also much lower. He says we expect high temperatures in the 70s this weekend and we’ll see the lows dip into the 40s for the northern part of the state.


Attorney General Jeff Landry has filed a suit seeking to block Governor John Bel Edwards executive order mandating that anti-discrimination clauses for the LGBT community be included in state contracts. Landry is asking the court to decide if Edwards can circumvent the Legislature to create his own law, after a judge already dismissed a suit by the governor seeking to force the AG to sign off on contracts with the language. Edwards criticizes Landry for giving businesses the right to discriminate.


A new poll on the US Senate race has Republican John Kennedy and Democrat Foster Campbell leading the large field of candidates. The poll was paid for by Raycom Media. Republican David Duke received five-percent in the survey and that will allow him to participate in a televised debate at Dillard University on November 2nd.


One of many lesser-known candidates in the US Senate race has dropped out less than three weeks before the election. Attorney and former-investment banker Abhay Patel is the first candidate to back out of the crowded field. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat isn’t surprised he withdrew, since he polled poorly. After dropping out of the race, Patel endorsed Republican Congressman Charles Boustany.


A grand jury in Beauregard Parish decided not to file charges in the case of two sheriff’s deputies who were involved in the shooting death of Eric Senegal in January. Investigators said the cops were at a residence serving a drug search warrant when gunfire erupted and Senegal and a dog were killed. The grand jury found the officers were justified in their actions under the circumstances.


The head of the Louisiana NAACP spoke before the House Judiciary Committee to provide ideas on how law enforcement and the public can work better together. Ernest Johnson says there needs to be more interactive relationships between police officers and the community. He suggests officers should be very familiar with everyone in the area they patrol. Johnson also advises elected officials should host more town hall meetings where police officers attend in plain clothes. The House Judiciary Committee yesterday wrapped up two days of hearings on interaction between law enforcement and citizens.


Tourism officials say it’s a game changer for tourism and economic development that a new nonstop flight connecting London Heathrow and New Orleans is coming to Louisiana. British Airways Senior Vice President Simon Brooks says this will be a delightful flight that lands in London, but gives passengers limitless travel options. They announced this morning the flights will leave four times a week beginning March 27, 2017.


LSU’s school newspaper has made the decision to cut back from a daily newspaper to a once-a-week publication starting next semester. Reveillie editor in chief Quint Forgey says the decision was not easy, but the future is still bright for the newspaper and the students involved.

Forgey says you also expect more of a digital presence at l-s-u-now-dot-com.


An arrest has been made in the case of an elderly man who was found shot to death in his own driveway in Houma. The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office says shortly after the death of 87-year-old Anthony Lirette, an arrest warrant was issued for 21-year-old Deandre Pharagood. Authorities say they are not releasing a motive at this time, but did add the two did not know each other.


The DWF is reporting that a dead whale was found washed up on a beach in Cameron Parish, and that the state department of wildlife and fisheries believes it is a young calf at 21 feet long. They are trying to determine what happened.


A new Gallup poll shows 60% of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, almost double the number of people who thought pot should be legal in 2000. David Brown is the director of a group called Sensible Marijuana Policy for Louisiana, or SMPL. Nine states are slated to decide whether to expand legal access to pot in the November election. State officials are currently hammering out a plan to get medical marijuana into the hands of patients who suffer certain specific ailments. But Brown feels that Louisiana will be one of the very last states to get on board with recreational legalization.


Spending on Halloween costumes, decorations and candy will reach a record high 8.4 billion dollars this year. That’s according to the National Retail Federation. Spokesperson Ana Serafin Smith says more than 171 million Americans are planning to partake in Halloween festivities this year. Smith says the Presidential election is also driving up costume sales as many people are dressing up as either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.




Pelicans star Anthony Davis says he’ll play tonight in the preseason finale against Orlando. Davis has been out of action since rolling his ankle about a week ago.






News For Thursday 10/20/16

News for Thursday 102016

By Dave Graichen


Funeral arrangements for longtime Louisiana political fixture Clyde Holloway have been announced. Visitation will be Tomorrow from 2-5 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. at Elwood Baptist Church in Forest Hill. The funeral service will be at the Forest Hill festival grounds at 11 a.m. Saturday.  After a private burial, a reception will be held in Forest Hill Town Hall where the public is invited to share memories and stories of their experiences with Holloway. Holloway, the chair of the Louisiana Public Service Commission and a former congressman from Forest Hill, died at his home Sunday night at the age of 72.


Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has said the November 8th election has been rigged by the media and at the polls to favor Democrat Hillary Clinton. Republican Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler calls Trumps comments irresponsible and says,

in Louisiana, we haven’t had a problem with a voting machine count in decades. Schedler says he is confident that the Presidential election will go off without any major problems and they have protections in place to protect against voter fraud.


Fall weather is finally set to return to Louisiana, thanks to a cold front that will move through the state today. State climatologist Barry Keim says the cold front will also likely bring us some rain, which is much-needed given the drought-like conditions the state has been experiencing. But he says it probably won’t be enough to break out the rain boots. Keim says once the rainfall moves through, fall weather will return. He says you’ll really start feel the cool temperatures tomorrow.


An Alexandria man has been arrested for the 79th time, with the latest charge accusing him of simple burglary. But, police didn’t have to go far to arrest 41 year old Lucius Williams Jr., he  was already in jail when arrested Monday by Alexandria Police detectives on the burglary charge. Williams was arrested on a warrant after detectives connected him to the Sept. 24 burglary of a grocery store in the 1500 block of Vance Street.


Good news if you are a coffee fan. CC's Coffee House is coming to Alexandria. The popular South Louisiana coffee shop chain will open a store in the strip mall anchored by Johnny's Pizza on Jackson Street Extension. CC's currently has 31 locations and seven more expected to open soon. Company officials say the Alexandria store is expected to open by Christmas.


The Town Talk reports today A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge denied a motion Wednesday by Revolution Aluminum Propco LLC to pay its creditors by borrowing against the property in Pineville where its parent company says it will build an aluminum mill. Revolution Aluminum Propco, which bought the property in March, was forced into bankruptcy court by three petitioners who say they lent the company money to buy the land. Revolution Aluminum Propco sought to borrow $5.7 million to pay the petitioners in the bankruptcy case and settle other financial obligations. The full story is in today’s Town Talk.


Law enforcement, elected officials, and the public gathered at the House Judiciary Committee meeting yesterday to discuss ways to improve community relations with police. State Police Col. Mike Edmonson says he’s been meeting with law enforcement around the country to learn more about practices implemented in other areas. Edmonson says they also want to address how the public responds to police officers, especially young adults. He says many young people don’t know what to do if they get pulled over.


At Wednesday’s meeting of the Jefferson Parish Council, members called for parish President Mike Yenni’s resignation and gave him a vote of no confidence. But the embattled politician says it is his job to move the parish forward and asks that the council let him do his job. He says he has never taken his oath to the parish or the people lightly. A recall petition has been started to remove Yenni from office


Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is coming up with new ways to combine Louisiana’s seafood with tourism promotion. He says they are getting close to releasing details about a social media program where all Louisiana residents can be an ambassador for the seafood industry.

He says seafood and tourism combined account for 14-billion dollars in annual revenue for Louisiana.


The Department of Agriculture says its getting millions of dollars from the federal government to help keep your food safe. The FDA says Louisaina will get more than $3 million dollars to help meet new safety standards. Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Mike Strain said he will use some of the money to create a partnership with the federal government, which could mean more training for some farmers.


During Governor John Bel Edward’s monthly call-in show, he addressed several topics including a new Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge, the future of the film tax credit program, and coastal parish lawsuits against the oil and gas industry. Edwards says a new bridge is a huge priority for Baton Rouge. The Transportation Task Force is meeting today to discuss the matter.  Edwards says he doesn’t think the $180 million cap that lawmakers placed on the Film Tax Credit program in 2015 a problem. He says a lot of movie producers had concerns about Louisiana’s commitment to the future of the industry, and expects lawmakers will address those concerns in next year’s legislative session.  Edwards also touched on the lawsuits filed by several coastal parishes against the oil and gas industry for the destruction of the coast. He says he supports the suit because it’s not enough to say these companies create jobs and boost revenue if they’re expediting coastal erosion.


News For Wednesday 101916

News for Wednesday 101916

By Dave Graichen


A Monroe television station is reporting that the principal and a teacher at Caldwell Parish High School have been suspended and placed on administrative leave. The sheriff’s office has been investigating complaints that students were stripped searched as school officials looked a missing 42 dollars.


Flu season is just around the corner, and the Louisiana Department of Health urges everyone to go out and get their flu shot. Dr. Frank Welch with LDH says despite what some people may think, getting a flu shot will not give someone the flu, and everyone needs to get vaccinated even if they got the shot last year. In years past, people had an option to get protected from flu in the form of a nasal spray, rather than an injection. But Welch says the nasal vaccine is not be available this year. The flu causes 500 deaths and nearly 3,000 hospitalizations every year in Louisiana.


Louisiana Senate candidate Rob Maness said Tuesday he was asked to drop out of the race and throw his support to GOP opponent John Fleming in return for significant funding in a future race. Maness told The Advocate that he met Paul Dickson Monday afternoon. There, Dickson, who identified himself as the person “running the John Fleming PAC” and a decision maker with the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority, offered support to Maness’ future political endeavors.  But, Maness says there was a catch. If I didn't do it before last night’s statewide televised debate he’s be finished as a politician.  Maness says the unethical threats and power play were shocking even by Louisiana standards.”


With 24 candidates in the US Senate race, it may come as a surprise that many Louisiana voters struggle to name even one. Louisiana Network asked Louisiana residents if they knew any of the two dozen candidates. Some respondents were familiar with one candidate, David Duke, but more for his controversial past than his current campaign. Analysts have said that voters are paying much more attention to what’s happening with presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.


A state legislative committee meets today to discuss on lawsuits against oil and gas companies by five coastal parishes, claiming these companies polluted and destroyed their land. House Natural Resources Chairman Stuart Bishop of Lafayette says there has been a lot of talk about these lawsuits and he wanted to have a public discussion. The parishes filing suit are Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Vermilion and Cameron.  A state law requires oil and gas companies to maintain and restore land used back to its original condition. Any money gained from a suit would go to restoring over 1,900 square miles of damaged coast.


Shreveport police have identified four suspects, including a seven-year-old girl, who were involved in a break-in at a Judson Elementary School on Monday morning. Detectives say two dozen I Pads were among the items stolen. Authorities have arrested 18-year-old D’Angelo Walker and he’s facing several charges.


Following a judge’s ruling that Attorney General Jeff Landry does not have to sign off on contracts that prevent LGBT discrimination, the Governor’s Office issued a statement saying they are reviewing their legal options. Landry believes the executive order banning discrimination in state offices is overreaching. The Governor’s statement adds the ruling does not impact the executive order.


A Louisiana man is suing over a state law that requires couples seeking marriage licenses to present a birth certificate, which can pose a problem for those born outside the US. 31-year-old Victor Vo of Lafayette has lived in this country since he was 3 months old and became a U.S. citizen when he was eight and recently had his marriage license application rejected by a court clerk.  Denham Springs Representative Valarie Hodges wrote the 2015 law in question. She says it’s an effort to prevent marriage fraud.


The state House Judiciary Committee begins two days of meetings today to discuss universal training for police officers, as well as de-escalation tactics. Monroe Representative Katrina Jackson says the goal of the hearings is to improve the trust between police and the public, especially African-Americans who feel they’ve been targeted by law enforcement. Jackson says they plan to discuss community partnerships with law enforcement that can enhance respect for law enforcement in the communities they police.


A 14-year-old boy fighting a liver disease was made an honorary Saint yesterday during an appearance on Good Morning America. Jarrius Robertson is a big fan of the Saints and Coach Sean Payton personally invited Jarrius and his Dad to travel with the team to Sunday’s game at Kansas City. Payton said Jarrius’ job would be to take care of social media during the game.


In the race for the 3rd Congressional District, it appears as though, it’s GOP Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle’s race to lose, as he’s raised more than rest of the field combined. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says Third Quarter Federal Elections Commission records show Angelle has over $1 million dollars in receipts through the third quarter, followed by little known Gus Rantz with more $620,000. Cross says Clay Higgins, a former police captain with the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office, is arguably the second best-known candidate in the race.


News For Tuesday 10/18/16

News for Tuesday 101816

By Dave Graichen


As many here and across the state remembered yesterday the Chairman of the Public Service Commission and former Congressman Clyde Holloway of Forrest Hill. Holloway passed away over the weekend. Former state representative and close friend of Holloway, Woody Jenkins, says Holloway was the type of man who took the initiative and didn’t wait for someone else to tell him what needed to be done. In a statement, Governor John Bel Edwards said Holloway always remained accessible and a powerful voice for his constituents. Chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party Roger Villere says Holloway was one of the founders of the conservative movement in the state… Holloway is survived by his wife of 50 years, Cathie, four children, nine grandchildren and six siblings. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced. Clyde Holloway was 72 years old.


The APD has yet to release any information about a shooting on Levin Street Friday that injured four people, including a child. Two of the males shot Friday remain in the hospital, and the third male shot has been released. A child, who suffered minor injuries from broken glass but was not shot, was also released from the hospital. Police are saying Anyone with information related to the shooting is asked to call the Alexandria Police Department.


The RPSO is conducting an investigation after an inmate was found dead in his cell in the Rapides Parish Detention Center in downtown Alexandria early Sunday.  Foul play is not suspected at this time in the death of 37 year old Cory LaFleur of Alexandria.  LaFleur was found unconscious and not breathing during a routine check of his cell.


Five of the 24 candidates for US Senate will go head to head tonight in the first statewide televised debate of the race. Republicans Charles Boustany, John Fleming and John Kennedy, along with Democrats Foster Campbell and Caroline Fayard are the candidates who will participate tonight. The debate begins at 7 PM on LPB.


JMC Analytics has released a new poll that shows Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell leading with 23-percent in the upcoming US Senate race. John Couvillon says Republicans John Kennedy, John Fleming, and Charles Boustany are all on each other’s heels for the second spot. He says right now Kennedy is one point ahead of Fleming, but Fleming could make the runoff. The poll was commissioned by the Fleming campaign.


A poll of 800 likely Louisiana voters shows the presidential race in the state is tightening up. The survey conducted by JMC Analytics finds Republican candidate Donald Trump at 45-percent, but Democrat Hillary Clinton has creeped up to 38-percent. In July, Trump had a 15-percentage point lead. Pollster John Couvillon says white female Democrats are helping to narrow the gap.


A Baton Rouge judge has ruled in favor of Attorney General Jeff Landry for his refusal to sign state contracts that protect against LGBT discrimination, in spite of an executive order signed by Governor John Bel Edwards in April. Legal analyst Clancy Dubos says Landry is clearly trying to make a political statement, and in this case the judge has agreed with him. The governor could appeal the court’s decision or file another lawsuit. Dubos says even after this ruling; it still remains to be seen how this will play out.


Like the rest of the country, Louisiana has a graduation rate that’s higher than it’s ever been. The White House released a report showing the state’s graduation rate for the 2014-2015 school year is up almost three percentage points from the prior year. State Superintendent John White says there is mixed news. Louisiana’s rate of almost 78-percent is still well below the national average of over 83-percent.


Two interstate highways that stretch across Louisiana are ranked among the most dangerous roads in the country, according to a new report from the finance website ValuePenguin. Interstates 10 and 20 came in at numbers four and 8 respectively on the list. Research analyst Craig Casazza says I-10 is the second darkest interstate, and it’s also known for drunk drivers.

The report found that Louisiana has the third most fatal stretch of I-10, with a fatality rate of nearly 55 deadly accidents per 100 miles. Casazza says I-20 came in as the fifth darkest and eighth most dangerous highway with a fatality rate is 43 fatal crashes per 100 miles.


A new quarterly food cost survey by the American Farm Bureau shows the cost of groceries has gone down 13-percent over the last year. Louisiana Farm Bureau specialist Neil Melancon says they’ll release another survey before Thanksgiving, and he expects that trend to continue.

Whole milk prices are down 10-percent, and the cost of eggs dropped a shocking 51-percent.


Another creepy clown has been arrested in Louisiana. Authorities say three witnesses called to report that 21-year-old Bradley Mock of Deridder was wearing a clown mask and brandishing a gun inside a vehicle in Vernon parish. When Mock was arrested, police learned the firearm he had was actually an air-soft gun resembling an M-4. Mock has reportedly been arrested on one count of terrorizing, and his bond was set at $50-thousand.


The Louisiana High School Athletic Association has ruled Belaire High School must forfeit all five of its wins this season for scholastic rules violations. The school principal and coach were placed on paid leave while the LHSAA investigated whether an ineligible player was used after his grade was changed.


After missing the last two games because of an ankle injury, LSU running back Leonard Fournette is expected to play this Saturday against 23rd ranked Ole Miss. Starting left guard Will Clapp could also play this Saturday after missing the Southern Miss contest with an arm injury.


News For Monday 10/16/16

News for Monday 101716

By Dave Graichen


Governor John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry are in court today after the governor sued the AG for blocking state legal contracts that had wording to protect members of the LGBT community from workplace discrimination. Jeremy Alford of Lapoltics.com says it’s very unusual to see one statewide elected official sue another.  He says this could be a tough case for the judge to decide.


Louisiana ranks second in the nation for accidental shootings involving minors, nearly three times more than the national average. That’s according to new data from the Associated Press and USA today. East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore says what we don’t know is how kids are getting their hands on these weapons. Alaska was the only state to top Louisiana on the list. The report found Baton Rouge had more accidental shootings than any other city in the Deep South. Moore says often times parents know or suspect that their child has a gun, but they don’t do anything about it.


Voters will have a lot to consider on November 8th. In addition to the federal elections and local races, six constitutional amendments are on the ballot. The Public Affairs Research Council published a guide that explains the proposals to voters. PAR president Robert Travis Scott says three of the amendments will have a big impact on state policy, and one will affect college tuition. You can find a link to that guide at ksyl.com      


LPB has announced it will broadcast A forum for U.S. Senate candidates in Louisiana Tuesday night from 7 to 8 p.m. LPB and the Council for A Better Louisiana are sponsoring the forum called “Decision 2016: The Race for the Senate,” which will originate live from the campus of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. The program will be hosted by CABL President Barry Erwin and LPB President and CEO Beth Courtney.


The Restore Louisiana Task Force met for the second time Friday and were told that they need to decide quickly how to disperse the $438 million dollars to flood victims. Congressman Garret Graves says the effort to get even more money to Louisiana would be easier if they could tell Congress how the dollars are being spent. Graves says Louisiana’s congressional delegation will seek additional funding from Congress after the November election.


The deadline for flood victims to register for the Shelter at Home program has been extended to this Friday. Residents who are eligible should visit shelterathome.la.gov.


Louisiana officials are urging residents to aggressively protect yourself from mosquitoes. The Louisiana Department of Health has been able to confirm 30 cases of the West Nile Virus that’s four more cases than what the state agency reported towards the end of September. Seventeen cases are the more serious form of the disease that can impact your brain and nervous system. The good news is, so far none of the cases have proved to be fatal.


The ACLU of Louisiana is looking into the incident at Caldwell Parish High School where students were apparently strip searched by school officials who were trying to locate stolen money. The organization says that was an invasion of privacy and due process rights of students and that the school should apologize to the 9th graders and uphold the law. The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.


Camp Minden officials plan to burn off volatile explosives in an effort to prevent any more spontaneous explosions. The Louisiana National Guard has been burning off M6 propellant in contained burning chambers. DEQ Secretary Chuck Brown says nearly 200-thousand pounds of CBI will be destroyed, as well as 40-thousand pounds of M6 propellant.


Lights, camera, action! Those words haven’t been spoken at Celtic Studios in Baton Rouge in over a year, but that could change soon, as Louisiana’s film industry is starting to show signs of life. Executive Director Patrick Mulhearn says calls are starting to come in from companies who want to film in Louisiana. He says it’s encouraging to see a light at the end of the tunnel.


A 14-year-old and 12-year-old have been arrested for damaging grave sites at a cemetery in Independence. The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s office says the juveniles also dumped seven urns containing human ashes. The juvenile offenders are facing multiple charges.


The former assistant principal in Baton Rouge who is accused in the death of a pregnant woman has bonded out of jail. 39-year-old Robert Marks pleaded not guilty in court on October 11th, and bond was set at $500,000. Marks allegedly shot 40-year-old Lyntell Washington and was arraigned on charges of second degree murder and first degree feticide.


The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of an 87-year-old man who was found with several gunshot wounds in his own driveway in Houma. They say they are looking into the incident as a homicide and anyone with information on the murder of Anthony Dale Lirette is urged to contact authorities.


Baton Rouge police say a 20-year-old man accidentally shot and killed his mother during an argument. Cpl. L’Jean McKneely says when authorities arrived at the scene, Dexter Clay Jr. was applying pressure to the wound on his mother. He says Clay fully cooperated with police.

Melissa Clay was taken to a local hospital where she later died.




LSU and Southern Miss were tied at ten at halftime on Saturday night in Death Valley, but the Tigers erupted for four 3rd quarter touchdowns and defeated the Golden Eagles 45-10. 


The Saints have a winning streak. New Orleans raced out to a 21-0 lead over the defending NFC championship Carolina Panthers and had to hold for a 41-38 victory.


News For Friday 10/14/16

News for Friday 101416

By Dave Graichen


The LSU-Florida matchup will happen after all. The two SEC teams are scheduled to play in Tiger Stadium on November 19th, when LSU was scheduled to play South Alabama at home. As part of the agreement, the Tigers will play in The Swamp next year and in 2018. The Gators were scheduled to host Presbyterian that week, and it’s been reported Presbyterian might play South Alabama instead.


State Department of Environmental Quality has ordered Clean Harbors Colfax to shut down a water retention pond at the site and replace it with a system that will provide greater protections to human health and the environment.  The pond, which holds rainwater with residue from chemicals on the facility’s burn pads, will be replaced by a storage tank/treatment system. A company official says it could take upwards of six to nine months” to replace the pond.


A judge has ruled against US Senate candidate Troy Hebert’s lawsuit to attempt to get into next week’s debate conducted by LPB and the Council for a Better Louisiana. Hebert attempted to sue the organizations because he claimed their restrictions on the upcoming debate are unfair. To participate in the debate, a candidate must have polled at least 5-percent


We’re halfway through October, but you wouldn’t know it by the weather. State climatologist Barry Keim says we are running abnormally warm and dry this month. He says a lack of clouds and rain is keeping temperatures higher than usual for this time of year. Keim says there is a possibility of a front coming through towards the end of next week, which could bring some rain and lower temperatures.


Parents of some freshmen at Caldwell Parish High School are fuming their children were strip searched at school because $42 was stolen from a student. The boys were reportedly taken to a bathroom where they were instructed to drop their pants and raise their shirts, while the girls were allegedly told to strip down to their underwear in a classroom.


Louisiana will receive 437-million dollars in flood aid. The money is part of the 500-million dollars that was approved by Congress last month. The state office of community development is looking at how they'll get the federal aid into the hands of flood victims. Officials have said assistance to help flood victims rebuild is a major priority.


An East Baton Rouge Parish flood victim has won $1 million from the Powerball. Louisiana Lottery spokesperson Kim Chopin says when they heard a man in Central had won the prize, they were hoping it would go to someone who really needed it. She says they were thrilled to find out 72-year-old James Lapeze was the winner. Chopin says after federal and state withholdings, Lapeze will take home $700-thousand.


An arrest in Tangipahoa parish put an end to a violent drug induced 36-hour crime spree. Sheriff Daniel Edwards says over the past few days, 30-year-old Brian Anthony has committed a murder, an attempted murder, a drive by shooting, arson and car theft. He says even though Anthony is now behind bars, their investigation is far from over. Anthony was arrested on more than 10 charges.


The Capital Area Law Enforcement Foundation has purchased $70-thousand in equipment to protect Baton Rouge police officers. Vice Chairman Clay Young says they purchased helmets, shields and thicker bulletproof vests. The money was raised through donations from citizens and businesses.


The Jefferson Parish District Attorney is seeking the death in the killing of a cop.  That word comes after an indictment in the case today. Grand jurors found that Jerman Neveaux should stand trial for first degree murder in the killing of Deputy David Michel. The grand jury also charged Neveaux with aggravated assault with a firearm, illegal possession of a stolen firearm, and two counts of resisting arrest by force or violence.


News For Thursday 10/13/16

News for Thursday 101316

By Dave Graichen


The Rapides Parish Health Unit will conduct a “Drive Through Flu Shot” Clinic. Today until 2pm at the Coliseum Blvd facility. The event is open to everyone age 19 and older, but it is especially intended for those at high risk of flu. The shots are free with an insurance card and for a $10 maximum charge without an insurance card. Those getting shots are asked to bring their insurance cards with them.


A regulation that calls for aspiring teachers to complete a full-year residency has been approved by the BESE board. BESE president Jim Garvey says some teachers have already gone through the apprenticeship as part of a pilot program and gave positive reviews.  Supporters of the program say it will better prepare teachers for the classroom. The residency will be required for certification beginning in July of 2018


About 23-percent of Louisiana adults have at least a four-year degree, according to a new report from 24/7 Wall Street. That’s 8 percentage points below the national average. Demographer Greg Rigamer says the low rate is due in part to Louisiana’s jobs.  He also says Louisiana has a high poverty rate and some families need to work instead of go to school. The report found New Orleans has the highest concentration of college grads in the state.


The deadline for August flood victims to apply for FEMA aid or low interest loans from the Small Business Administration has been extended until to November 14th. FEMA spokesperson Kurt Pickering says so far, individual households in Louisiana have received 699 million dollars in grants to repair their homes. Pickering says by applying for FEMA aid, it also starts the process to receive an SBA loan, which can provide flood victims up to 200-thousand dollars and up to 2 million dollars for businesses.


Over six weeks and three thousand miles later, three escaped Natchitoches parish inmates are once again behind bars. Capt. Tony Moran with the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office says 35-year-old Walshea Mitchell, 24-year-old Michael Elliot, and 34-year-old Willie Ethridge were all captured in different states, and they’re working to figure out how they managed to get that far. He says the inmates escaped from Natchitoches Parish Detention Center on August 27th.


A petition has been filed to recall Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni from office, in the midst of a sexting scandal with a 17-year-old boy. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says the petition will need 87-thousand signatures for a recall vote to occur, but they recommend petitioners try to get more. He says if the petition gets enough signatures, it will go to the governor for the final decision.


Livingston Parish deputies fatally shot a suspect after he allegedly shot at officers during a traffic stop, then fled into a barn and pointed his weapon at officers. LPSO spokesperson Lori Steele says 31-year-old Blaine Beason was wanted on several charges.


Fatalities on Louisiana’s waterways are well above what they were at this time last year, as 7 people died in boating accidents in September alone. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries spokesperson Adam Einck says there have been 22 deaths this year, compared to only 13 through September of last year. He says most of the deaths could have been prevented.


Tulane University researchers are teaming up to learn more about the brain in a new collaboration called the Brain Institute. Tulane Vice President for Research, Dr. Laura Levy, says understanding the brain is one of the true frontiers of the life sciences. She says scientists don’t know much about the brain, and they hope this university-wide collaboration will help them learn more.


In the wake of two historic floods in Louisiana, Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana wants the public to know that research shows child abuse rates usually go up three months to a year after a disaster. Executive Director Amanda Brunson says tensions tend to rise as the family experiences more stress. She says parents can call their KIDLINE at 1-800-CHILDREN.



LSU Coach Ed Orgeron says it’s likely star running back Leonard Fournette will miss his second straight game due to an ankle injury. Fournette hasn’t played since the 18-13 loss to Auburn. Coach O said on the SEC coaches teleconference that it’s taken Fournette longer to recover than they thought.


The LSU Tigers are getting closer to taking the field after not playing last Saturday because of Hurricane Matthew. The Bayou Bengals face Southern Miss on Saturday night in Death Valley in just the third ever meeting between the two teams. LSU is a 26-point favorite.


The NFL’s competition committee says Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks will draw a flag if he continues his bow and arrow touchdown celebration. The league says the gesture mimics a violent act. Cooks says he plans to continue to do the celebration in some form and he’s surprised the NFL is cracking down on what he said started as sign of his faith in God.


The Saints welcome the defending NFC Champs to the Superdome this Sunday as they’ll battle the Carolina Panthers at noon. Carolina is a disappointing 1-and-4 on the season.

New Orleans comes into Sunday’s contest with a 1-and-3 record, but they went into an open week by beating San Diego on October 2nd.


In college basketball…Natchitoches Central star Brandon Rachal committed to the LSU Tigers today. Six-foot-six wingman has led the Chiefs to Class 5A state title appearance twice in the last three seasons. The four-star prospect averaged 15 points and six rebounds a game last year



News For Wednesday 101216

News for Wednesday101216

By Dave Graichen


LSU announces that its live mascot, Mike VI, was euthanized yesterday at the age of 11 following a four-month battle with cancer. LSU says there will not be a formal memorial service for Mike VI, but fans are encouraged to share their memories, stories and photos on social media using #MikeVI. PETA has reiterated its call for LSU to end the use of live mascots.

Following the death of Mike VI.


A new poll finds that 15-percent of Americans say their health insurance has gotten better in the last year, but twice as many say it got worse. Doctor Jay Kaplan of New Orleans is the president of the American College of Emergency Physicians and he says deductibles are rising and this is leading to a higher cost for patients. Kaplan says deductibles have risen over 40-percent in the last several years.


Senate candidate Troy Hebert’s legal attempt to force LPB and the Council for a Better Louisiana to include more candidates in next week’s Senate debate gets a hearing today in a Baton Rouge courtroom. Political consultant and Former-Secretary of State, Jim Brown, says Hebert is right on the money for filing the suit after only 5 of the 24 candidates were scheduled to be in the debate. For a candidate to participate, he or she must have polled at least 5-percent and raised over $1 million in campaign funds.


The Grant parish Sheriff’s department reports the arrest of a man who neighbors had reported seeing walking around in his yard wearing nothing but a bath towel and wielding a large knife. 26 year old David Maxwell told a deputy that there were people in the tops of the trees in his  yard and ghosts in his house. The deputy didn’t see any trace of the ghosts in the home but, he did find drugs. Maxwell was arrested and charged with a laundry list of drug related charges.


The US Justice Department has released a statement to update the status of the criminal investigation into Alton Sterling’s death by Baton Rouge Police Officers. US Attorney Walt Green says it’s ongoing and there is no timetable on when the investigation will be finished. He says a team of career federal prosecutors, FBI agents and support personnel have devoted hundreds of hours to the investigation.


The new Republican Party deputy chairman of Louisiana, Tim Breaux, says he will stand by Presidential candidate Donald Trump amid an 11-year-old recording recently released with the businessman making lewd comments about women. Breaux, from Lafayette, says he’s been around Trump on many occasions and says his wife also works closely with Trump’s businesses and has never felt uncomfortable or heard him make inappropriate comments. He believes the republican candidate still has a good chance to win.


David Duke, who is running for the U.S. Senate, lost his campaign coordinator Monday over a disagreement about how the former Ku Klux Klan leader should present himself to the public. Mike Lawrence was hoping to engineer a political comeback for Duke, whose career height was in the early 1990s with credible runner-up showings in races for the U.S. Senate and Louisiana governor.


Blue Bell Creameries is recalling all of its ice cream products that contain cookie dough from an Iowa-based supplier. The move announced Monday night comes after Aspen Hills recalled cookie dough supplied to ice cream makers after finding potential listeria bacteria contamination. The Blue Bell recall involves half-gallons and pints of Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Blue Bell Cookie Two Step sold to retailers.


News For Tuesday 10/11/16

News for Tuesday 101116

By Dave Graichen


Only 28 days are left until the November election, and Secretary of State Tom Schedler reminds voters that today is the last day to register to vote. He says other than the presidential and senate races, there’s also plenty of local and congressional races, as well as proposed changes to the state constitution. He says people can register at GeauxVote.com


Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne has been released from the hospital after he was admitted Saturday with what he called pressure in his chest. It’s unclear when the governor’s chief budget officer will return to work, but he says he’s taking his doctor’s advice and resting.


The Department of Children and Family Services has received federal approval for a second month of disaster food assistance for the 11 parishes most heavily impacted by the August flooding. DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says anyone who received aid last month will automatically have their card reloaded this month. She says recipients will have benefits loaded no later than October 18th.


Four people, including one 10-year-old, are in the hospital after a 20 foot obstacle collapsed at the Warrior Dash in St. Francisville. Brant Thompson with the State Fire Marshall’s Office says the so-called Diesel Dome came down with 20 people on top of it, and investigators are working to figure out why. Thompson says over 5-thosuand people registered for the 5k obstacle course.


The Louisiana Department of Transportation has launched a campaign to promote roundabout safety tips. DOTD Spokesperson Rodney Mallett says roundabouts are a one-way circular intersection that are designed to improve safety and efficiency. DOTD has instated about 30 roundabouts and 100 more have been proposed, including two here in Alexandria. Mallett says motorists slow down, but don’t stop when entering a roundabout so it helps with congestion.  He says this type of intersection is also much safer than a stop light.


The Louisiana National Guard deployed eight helicopters to Florida and South Carolina for Hurricane Matthew response operations. The massive storm took the lives of at least 20 people in four states.


Will LSU and Florida be able to reschedule their game that was postponed because of Hurricane Matthew? There’s been talk of LSU giving up its November 19th home game to South Alabama to make it happen, but Athletic Director Joe Alleva says that’s not happening. If LSU and Florida can’t reschedule the game, it will hurt their chances of winning their respective divisions.


A new taskforce aims to address the epidemic of opioid abuse in Louisiana. Bob Johannessen with the Department of Health says the Commission on Preventing Opioid Abuse was established in the 2016 legislative session, and they just had their first meeting. He says Louisiana has the seventh highest rate of painkiller prescriptions in the country. Johannessen says the 38-member commission is made up of representatives from medical, law enforcement, and pharmaceutical communities. He says Louisiana has also received more than $2 million in federal dollars to assist with this effort.


A statement released by Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni says he won’t be resigning after allegations surfaced he sent sexually explicit messages to a 17-year-old boy. Yenni says he has taken responsibility for his poor judgement but this is a personal matter and does not affect is ability to govern his parish. He adds he has not broken any laws and has not been contacted by any agency conducting an investigation.



News For Monday 10/10/16

News for Monday 101016

By Dave Graichen


The state DOTD held a public meeting last Thursday to discuss plans for the improvement of traffic flow on Jackson Street extension. The plan would include the installation of not one, but two “Roundabouts”. On at the end of the roadway where it intersects with Horseshoe drive, Twin Bridges and Lodi. The other at its intersection with Versailles Blvd. State officials say construction is probably still 2-3 years away, however the process of buying property is expected to start soon.


Authorities say FEMA has awarded nearly $700 million in disaster aid since the flood in south Louisiana. Nearly 150-thousand people in the 22 affected parishes have registered for federal assistance, but the deadline to apply is approaching. FEMA reminds the public that they must apply by October 13 in order to be eligible for FEMA assistance.


Federal and state agencies are combining forces to investigate and prosecute cases of fraud as a result of the devastating flooding in south Louisiana. Attorney General Jeff Landry says his office and the US Attorney’s Office have established a national disaster fraud hotline.


The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness announces more than 1-thousand flood victims have had their homes repaired as part of the Shelter at Home program. GOHSEP spokesperson Mike Steele says this is a huge milestone for the program.

Steele says they have seven contractors and several more subcontractors working on homes throughout the affected area. He says while this program may not be the right fit for everyone, it’s been an enormous help to those that are eligible for Shelter at Home.


State Police report an Elmer woman died Saturday night in a single vehicle crash. 61-year-old Theresa Wise was a passenger in a pickup truck driven by 64-year-old Leroy Wise when he lost control and ran off the road and struck a tree. Theresa Wise was pronounced dead at the scene. Leroy Wise sustained moderate injuries.


Two of Louisiana's leading Republican Senate candidates called Donald Trump’s comments from 2005 about his treatment of women “reprehensible" and "unacceptable," but they stopped short of saying they will no longer support him as the GOP's presidential nominee.


A new report from the finance website 24/7 Wall Street finds Monroe is the fourth poorest city in the country. ULM economics professor Dr. Robert Eisenstaedt says this isn’t surprising because Louisiana as a whole is a poor state, and the northeast part of the state tends to be even poorer. According to the 24/7 Wall Street report, Monroe has a poverty rate of about 24-percent and an unemployment rate of just over 6-percent.


A report by the Society for Research in Child Development finds over 160-thousand students in 19 states, including Louisiana, where kids are being subjected to corporal punishment in their schools every year. Developmental Psychologist with the University of Texas, Dr. Elizabeth Gershoff, says African American children are 50-percent more likely to be smacked than white students. Her research found one in five Louisiana schools still use corporal punishment, with the majority being in rural areas.


The entire Jefferson Parish Council is calling for Parish President Mike Yenni’s resignation after he admitted to sexting with a 17-year-old boy. Legal analyst Tim Meche says he doesn’t think the council could force him to resign, because he didn’t break any laws.


Many LSU fans say the SEC dropped the ball in allowing the LSU-Florida game to be postponed. Fox Sports college football writer, Stewart Mandel says this is particularly troubling because LSU is no stranger to being the displaced team. He says last year Tiger Stadium played host to a flooded South Carolina home team. Mandel says he doesn’t see why the game couldn’t have been moved.


Pineville-based utility company, Cleco, will break ground this month on a new clean energy plant in St Mary parish. Spokesperson Robbyn Cooper says a partnership between Cleco and Cabot Corporation will allow them to produce energy without any emissions at the 80-million-dollar facility in Franklin. Cooper says the new St. Mary Clean Energy Center will provide power for 17-thousand homes across Louisiana. Cleco expects it will be operational by March 2018.


News For Friday 10/07/16

News for Friday 100716

By Dave Graichen


Hurricane Matthew is tracking northward just off Florida's Atlantic coast. It is now a category three storm with top sustained winds of 120 miles per hour. National Hurricane Center specialist John Cangialosi says the southeast will experience only a fraction of its strength. It is expected to stay off shore and gradually make a slight Northeasterly turn hugging the Georgia and Carolina coastline.


Yesterday was a day to pay respect to a man who gave so much of his life to make Alexandria a great place to live and raise a family, Former Mayor Ned Randolph. Hundreds of well-wishers paid their final respects to Randolph’s family Thursday during a public viewing and wake at Alexandria Convention Hall. Today, a day of regrouping for the Randolph family. Funeral services are set for 10 a.m. Tomorrow in First United Methodist Church in Alexandria. Visitation will run from 8:30 a.m. until time of services Saturday in the church. Burial will be in Greenwood Memorial Park.


It’s a decision that has many LSU fans irate. The SEC has decided to postpone Saturday’s scheduled game at Florida, because of Hurricane Matthew. The league says they will attempt to try and reschedule the game for later in the year, but it will take the reshuffling of games. But a source tells Tiger Rag-dot-com there’s zero chance the game will be rescheduled. The Tiger Rag report also says LSU offered Tiger Stadium, it’s charter plane and buses to accommodate a possible relocation to Baton Rouge.


Some are concerned that potential damage from Hurricane Matthew could impact Louisiana’s fight to get more federal aid for flood relief. Congress is expected to return in December to discuss more financial flood relief for Louisiana and what will need to be down to help those impacted by Hurricane Matthew. Louisiana has already received over $400 million in federal disaster aid, Governor John Bel Edwards has requested $2.8 billion.


Northwestern State University President Jim Henderson has been appointed president of the University of Louisiana system by the Board of Supervisors. Henderson says he would like to have a more hands on relationship with students in the UL system. He says he also wants to see more student involvement at the system level to give them a voice in policy decisions.


The US Supreme Court has declined to hear former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s appeal of his 2014 public corruption conviction. Legal analyst Chick Foret says this means Nagin will have to serve out the remaining 8 years of his 10-year sentence, because there is no other court that can hear his appeal. Nagin was convicted on 20 counts of bribery, conspiracy, wire fraud, and filing false tax returns.


Saturday marks one month until election days, and political experts say the US Senate race is tightening in Louisiana. ULM political science professor Dr. John Sutherlin says campaign ads are starting to roll out, but mainly on the Republican side. He says the two major Democrats in the race Caroline Fayard and Foster Campbell are working on get out the vote campaigns.

Sutherlin says Early Voting begins October 25th and that will be a critical time for the 24 candidates running for US Senate.


Republican Congressman Charles Boustany is outraged at an ad that he says was released by a third-party group supporting State Treasurer John Kennedy’s campaign. The ad alleges Boustany voted to send tax dollars to Iraq and Pakistan, which the commercial says are breeding grounds for terrorists. The ad also claims that one of Boustany’s biggest supporters is a company that builds weapons for Middle Eastern regimes. Boustany says the company they’re referring to is Swiftships, a company that employs 200 Louisianans in Morgan City.


Embattled Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni is no longer in the state. He’s a lieutenant in the US Navy Reserve and has been deployed to respond to Hurricane Matthew. He has yet to address allegations that he sent sexually explicit messages to a 17-year-old boy. But his media consultant says Yenni will respond to the accusations in a commercial that will air on New Orleans TV stations.


It’s officially sugar cane grinding season in Louisiana and the harvest is expected to be better than last year. General Manager of the American Sugar Cane League Jim Simon says it’s still early in the season but there are indications that the sugar content of the cane is very good. He says the mild winter last year really helped the crop get off to a good start.


The West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office says a traffic stop along I-10 in Port Allen resulted in the seizure of millions of dollars’ worth of cocaine. They say 44-year-old Jesus Alberto Villafranco, of Deer Park, Texas, was arrested after a search of his vehicle turned up nearly 70 pounds of cocaine hidden in a compartment beneath a tow trailer. Authorities said the total street value of the drugs is more than $3 million.


No LSU football game this weekend. The Tigers and Gators contest scheduled for Saturday has been postponed because of Hurricane Matthew. Interim Head Coach Ed Orgeron says the team is disappointed. Orgeron says they’ll treat the postponement as a regular open date, which will give them a chance to focus on recruiting and game planning. LSU’s next game is October 15th at home against Southern Miss.


News For Thursday 10/06/16

News for Thursday 100616

By Dave Graichen


Saying Good Bye.. Today the city of Alexandria will host a wake and an opportunity for citizens to pay their respects to the late Mayor Ned Randolph, who passed on Tuesday. Randolph’s body will lie in repose beginning at noon Today in Alexandria Convention hall, the public is encouraged to pay their respects. Tonight, a public wake ceremony. Funeral services are set for 10 a.m. Saturday in First United Methodist Church in Alexandria. Visitation will run from 8:30 a.m. until time of services Saturday in the church.


Hurricane Matthew's winds have strengthened to 125 miles per hour - which is a Category three hurricane. Florida, the Carolinas and Georgia are bracing for the storm next. National Hurricane Center forecaster Robbie Berg says storm surge is a big concern for Florida. Right now Matthew is about 60 miles south of Nassau, Bahamas.  


Northwestern State University President Jim Henderson is expected to become the new president of the University of Louisiana System, as he is the only candidate that will go before the Board of Supervisors today. Henderson says though if the job doesn’t allow him to continue to work with Northwestern, he won’t even consider it. Henderson has been the Northwestern president since January of 2015.


Despite Hurricane Matthew’s threat on the east coast, the LSU-Florida game is still scheduled to be played in Gainesville, but it’s unclear whether it will kick-off at 11 AM on Saturday. Officials say a final decision on the start time will be made by noon central time tomorrow. But there are no plans to move the game out of Gainesville.


Sad news yesterday about L-S-U’s live mascot, Mike the Tiger. His veterinarian, Doctor David Baker, says the tumor on his face has resumed growing and his cancer has spread, and the 420-pound Tiger only has one to two months to live. Baker says Mike will no longer receive radiation treatment and their plan is to give the LSU community time to say their goodbyes. The doctor says they plan to euthanize Mike, once it gets to become too painful for him to live. Baker added that LSU has instructed him to find another live mascot.


According to research from the Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity, Louisiana is one of eight states that has more opioid prescriptions than residents. Dr. David Holcombe with the state Office of Public Health says pharmaceutical companies push these pills as being safer than they are, and there’s a problem with patients demanding the painkillers.

Louisiana’s opioid prescription rate was 1.03 per capita in 2015.


The federal government has set a goal for zero traffic fatalities within the next 30 years. The Transportation Department has outlined a plan that includes increasing seatbelt use and more rumble strips. Louisiana Highway Safety Commissioner Dr. Katara Williams says that’s the perfect ultimate goal, because even one traffic fatality is one too many. Williams says the first step to reducing these deaths is raising awareness about safe driving habits. She says drivers must put down their cellphones when they’re behind the wheel, buckle up, and never drive drunk.


An unbuckled 19-year-old was killed in a single vehicle crash after her vehicle was split in half in Catahoula Parish. State Police Trooper Scott Moreau says police responded to a crash in Harrisonburg, Tuesday morning involving, Reagan Rainey of Jonesville. Police say she lost control of her vehicle and hit a tree.


A Grand Jury in Baton Rouge has formally charged the former assistant principal accused in the death of Lyntell Washington and her unborn baby. 39-year-old Robert Marks was handed a true bill for second degree murder and second degree feticide. Washington was positively identified as the badly decomposed body found in a ditch in Rosedale, and autopsy reports show she died from a gunshot wound to the head.


The final shelter set up for victims of the south Louisiana flood is now closed. Red Cross spokesperson Todd James says they will help anyone who is still in the Baton Rouge shelter at Celtic Studios find their next place to go.


The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office arrests a woman accused of trying to kill her ex-boyfriend. They say 49-year-old Lisa Snowten allegedly broke into her ex’s house and attacked him before pointing a gun at him and shooting it — but it didn’t discharge. Cops say Snowten then went to the victim’s current girlfriend’s place of employment where she was apprehended and arrested on charges of attempted second-degree murder and domestic abuse battery.


Louisiana Tech hosts Western Kentucky in a big Conference USA matchup at Ruston tonight. The Hilltoppers are considered one of the favorites to win the league and they have won 12 straight conference games. Tech Coach Skip Holtz says it’s important Bulldog nation comes out tonight, because they need that home field advantage. You can hear the game this evening at 5:30 on Alexandria’s ESPN 1410 and 93.1 HD3



News For Tuesday 10/04/16

News for Tuesday 100416

By Dave Graichen


Independent U.S. Senate candidate Troy Hebert has filed a lawsuit in an effort to have Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the Council for a Better Louisiana to include more candidates in an October 18th televised debate.  The five candidates invited are Republicans Charles Boustany, John Fleming, and John Kennedy, along with Democrats Foster Campbell and Caroline Fayard. Along with having raised one million dollars, candidates must have polled at least 5-percent in a non-partisan survey. CABL President Barry Erwin says with so many candidates in the race and being only three weeks away from the election, there has to be some criteria for participation.


The APD reporting a Jena man has been arrested in connecting with a shooting in the city last week. 21-yearold Cameron Jackson was booked into the LaSalle Parish jail on 2nd degree murder charges in the death of 27 year Jarvis Jackson last Friday.


Cleco is warning customers that scammers are trying making fraudulent phone calls that demand immediate payment and threaten disconnection of power. “Cleco reminds customers that the do not make personal calls demanding payment of overdue accounts, do not suggest a payment method and do not demand that customers use certain locations for payment. If you think you are being scammed, call CLECO


Many flood victims in Denham Springs could be forced to elevate their homes. Mayor Gerard Landry says about 1200 residents were informed by mail over the weekend that initial FEMA assessments show the structure was “substantially damaged” by the flood. Landry emphasizes that these FEMA assessments are just an initial snapshot of the damage each home likely received.


A report by ProPublica finds many state leaders along with residents are very frustrated with the Red Cross’ flood response efforts in Louisiana. The report stems from email’s from state officials showing concern with the organization, as well as many attempts to resolve the issues. Staffers with the governor’s office reportedly met with officials from the Red Cross yesterday.


While flood victims in south Louisiana are struggling to recover from the August flood, many north Louisianans have still not recovered from the flooding there in March. Monroe Police Juror Pat Moore says many people still have not gotten back into their homes. She says some of the people didn’t know how to get the assistance they need. Moore estimates as many as 20-percent of the people in her district couldn’t get federal aid.


A committee searching for a new president of the University of Louisiana System has made a recommendation to the full board for consideration. Northwestern State University President James Henderson was the only person submitted for review by the committee. If chosen, Henderson will fill the position vacated by Sandra Woodley in December.


Keep Louisiana Beautiful has released a new slogan that aims to raise awareness about the state’s litter problem. Executive Director of Keep Louisiana Beautiful, Susan Russell, says they hope “Love the Boot, Don’t Pollute” will provide a consistent message to Louisianans not to trash the state. She believes it’s a fitting slogan for the Bayou State, especially the word love.

Rogers says the slogan appears on bumper stickers that will be placed on 12-thousand state vehicles.


Louisiana residents are now able to purchase REAL ID licenses today from the Office of Motor Vehicles. Once October 2020 hits, you’ll need a REAL ID to fly domestically without a passport. OMV Commissioner Karen St. Germain says in order to get a REAL ID, your birth certificate, social security card, and proof of residency are needed and they look similar to the current licenses. REAL ID licenses cost 13 dollars for a four year duplicate and 17 dollars for a six year duplicate.


Louisiana has received a $67 million federal grant to better prepare new teachers and provide more support for rural school districts. Assistant Talent Superintendent Hannah Dietsch says much of the grant money will go towards making sure teachers are prepared for the classroom before they begin their careers in education. The money will be dispersed among 16 rural school systems, reaching a total of 137 schools as part of an effort to better prepare educators.


Part of Taylor Swift’s $1 million dollar pledge to Louisiana will go to the YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge’s Early Head Start Center. CEO Dianna Payton says the Early Head Start program provides comprehensive early childhood and family services for low-income children up to three years of age. She says they are very grateful for the pop star’s gift.


The first campaign ad attacking a candidate has been released by Republican Congressman Charles Boustany. UL-Lafayette Pearson Cross says it’s not surprising the target of the attack is GOP State Treasurer John Kennedy. He says it’s likely only one Republican will make the runoff, so it’s a dogfight of a race among the top GOP contenders.


LSU Health New Orleans researchers found a link between certain kinds of cancer and sugary drink consumption. Dr. Melinda Sothern with LSU Health New Orleans says it’s recommended that people do not have more than three 12 ounce sugary drinks per week. She says there is also a link to obesity and cardio-metabolic diseases with these drinks.


Bossier Parish authorities report a 16-year-old student has been arrested by Caddo Sheriff’s deputies for posting threats about students and teachers on her Instagram account. The posts said that students and teachers would be kidnapped and killed. Account followers reported the messages to the Sheriff’s office. The teenager was booked into Caddo Juvenile Detention Center.


News For Monday 10/03/16

News for Monday 100316

By Dave Graichen


Hurricane Matthew could dump as much as 40-inches of rain on vulnerable areas of Haiti. The eye of the approaching Category 4 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph is expected to pass to the east of Jamaica and then cross over or be very close to the southwestern tip of Haiti late today or early Tuesday.


Governor John Bel Edwards, Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Mike Strain, and other state officials will be in Cuba today on a trade mission. Strain says representatives from LSU will also join them, because they want to trade more than just commodities. Strain says Cuba will import up to $2 billion worth of food next year, and as much as $1 billion of that could be from the US. He says they believe Louisiana is in a prime position to capture a lion’s share of that trade.


Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards plans to sue Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry for blocking state contracts that contains clauses preventing L-G-B-T discrimination. Edwards says Landry is over stepping his constitutional authority. But Landry says state lawmakers have refused numerous times to pass laws to prohibit discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity and he’s protecting the will of the legislature.


There have been to reported incidents involving Local law enforcement officers being refused service at different restaurants. The first, at the Taco Bell in Kingsville Thursday night when employees waved a stuffed pig at the officer and made oink sounds. The second at Johnny Carino’s in Alexandria Saturday night, when employees refused to take the officers orders.  A Facebook post from Carino’s management they were deeply sorry for the miscommunication.


The LSU AgCenter is continuing with plans to grow medical marijuana and hope to have seeds in the ground early next year.  AgCenter President Dr. Bill Richardson says they should have a business plan in place this month and they are working closely with law enforcement to ensure they are comfortable with every aspect. Richardson says no students and no one under 21 will be able to work in the growing facility and security is their number one priority.


The City of Natchez must hire more firefighters to avoid a drop in its fire insurance rating.

The Natchez Democrat reports that the Mississippi State Rating Bureau notified the city last month that the city’s fire protection no longer warrants its current rating: five on a scale of one to 10. When ratings drop, residents’ insurance rates can go up. A tight city budget has prevented the hiring of all the needed firefighters so far.


Deepwater Horizon was a success at the box office this weekend and just in time for the release of the movie is a new study looking at how coastal marshlands recovered from the 2010 environmental disaster. Marine conservation biology professor at Duke University, Brian Silliman, says patches of marsh grass nearly covered by oil never recovered.  Silliman says marshes with less than 90-percent oil coating did not erode as quickly as they expected, but 40 to 50 acres of marsh is permanently lost and can’t be brought back without active restoration.


Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is concerned about the rising number of deaths from prescription opioid overdoses in Louisiana, and the costs associated with prescription pill addiction. Donelon says for the first time since the Vietnam War, the life expectancy has gone down for white males ages 25 to 35, and he says that’s due in part to the opioid epidemic in the US. Donelon says in 2014, 750 people died of opioid overdoses in Louisiana. He says a rising cost of insurance for injured workers is the least of the concerns with this issue.


Louisiana State police say four people have been arrested in a human trafficking investigation that began more than a year ago. State police says a victim in the case was rescued in August of 2015, when two people were arrested. The subsequent investigation led to the recent jailing of four others accused of holding the victim against her will and forcing her to participate in sexual activity. Suspects are being held in East Baton Rouge, Livingston and Tangipahoa parishes on human trafficking and other charges.




What a debut by Interim Head Coach Ed Orgeron as he guided the Tigers to a 42-7 thrashing of the Missouri Tigers on Saturday night. LSU’s offense, which was stagnant through the first four games of the season, rolled up 634 yards of total offense, which is a school record for total offense in SEC games.


It wasn’t flashy, but Louisiana Tech picked up a much needed victory on Saturday with a 28-7 win over UTEP. Ryan Higgins threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns and Coach Skip Holtz says it was nice to get a win after losing two straight on the road


For the second straight week, UL Lafayette lost in overtime on the road. New Mexico State beat the Cajuns 37-31 in double overtime on Saturday night to drop U-L-L’s record to 2-3


News For Friday 09/30/16

News for Friday 093016

By Dave Graichen


Forecasters have upgraded Tropical Storm Matthew to a hurricane. The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Matthew continues its march westward in the Caribbean Sea. The Category One storm has maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour. Forecast models show the storm then taking a turn directly to the north, possibly impacting Jamaica, Haiti, or Cuba before coming close to the U.S. eastern seaboard.


The job outlook in Louisiana this year isn’t too good for much of the state as the latest numbers show the state is set to lose 17,000 positions. LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott says job growth will remain flat in Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria and New Orleans, while Baton Rouge and Lake Charles will see employment gains because of the industrial boom. He says the struggle in Houma/Thibodaux & Acadiana is due to low oil prices. Scott doesn’t believe the flooding will impact the economy but will create an uptick in construction employment.


The Thibodaux Police Department says a man is under arrest after cops say he threatened to blow up a building. They say 59-year-old Monty Savoy of Thibodaux was at a bank when he tried to get into a political discussion with an employee and threatened to blow up the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office. He is charged with Communicating False Information of Planned Arson.


An explosion lit up the sky at Camp Minden in Webster Parish around 5:00 Thursday morning. The Louisiana National Guard reports a storage bunker filled with M6 propellant exploded. Crews have been working around the clock to destroy these 15 million pounds of explosives, which were improperly stored several years ago. Louisiana State Police is conducting an investigation into the blast and they say it could happen again.  Over 6.2 million pounds of the propellant has been destroyed since the operation began in April.


Congress has approved $400 million for flood recovery efforts in Louisiana, but when that money will be available to flood victims is still up in the air. Lafayette City-Parish president Joel Robideaux says people are looking for answers, and that’s something local officials can’t give them right now. Robideaux says 4-thousand homes were impacted in Lafayette parish.


The Deepwater Horizon movie premieres in theaters today and shows the story of the lives lost during the 2010 rig explosion off the coast of Louisiana. Lt Governor Billy Nungesser was the president of Plaquemines Parish when 11 crew members were killed in the worst offshore oil disaster in U.S. history and he says this movie accurately portrayed what went on during the blast. The movie was filmed in Louisiana.


One man is behind bars and another is wanted after they posed as FEMA personnel. Police say the men knocked on the door of a home in Tangipahoa parish claiming they worked for FEMA. They then allegedly produced a handgun and pushed their way into the home, shooting one of the residents in the stomach and critically wounding him.


New FEMA flood maps go into effect today impacting three southeast Louisiana parishes. FEMA Assistant Administrator, David Maurstad, says 60-thousand homeowners who are currently in the high risk mandatory purchase area are moving to a low to moderate risk, which means flood insurance is no longer federally required by lenders and residents might be eligible for lower rates on their policy. The changes to the FEMA flood maps will impact residents in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard Parishes.


Wildest Show in the South gets underway this weekend, as the Angola Rodeo returns Sunday on the grounds of the state prison. Angola spokesperson Gary Young says the rodeo is held every Sunday in October, and the gates open at 9am.


:A Desoto Parish man said he wanted to bring a smile to the faces of his northwest Louisiana community, so he posted a now viral video of him dancing around his wife’s bed as she was in labor to “The Baby Momma Dance.” 29-year-old Sky Jones says he made the video to cheer up the people in his hometown.


News For Thursday 09/29/16

News for Thursday 092916

By Dave Graichen


Authorities are still trying to determine what led to Tuesday’s double-murder and suicide that claimed the life of a Louisiana sheriff’s deputy. Pointe Coupee Sheriff Bud Torres says West Baton Rouge deputy Donna Leblanc and her 21-year-old daughter were fatally shot by their estranged neighbor 29-year-old Gregory Phillips, who turned the gun on himself.


The body cam video has been released of the police shooting that left a 6-year-old autistic boy dead in Marksville. The graphic video shows deputy city marshal Derrick Stafford open firing into a vehicle, where 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis was sitting in the passenger seat. The video of the shooting that occurred last November was played Wednesday in the courtroom at Stafford’s hearing. The father, Christopher Few, was critically wounded in the shooting. Defense attorneys have said Few rammed his car into the deputy’s vehicle before he fired, but the video does not show that..


New data from the FBI finds Louisiana’s murder rate is once again higher than any other state in the country. The state recorded 10.3 murders per 100-thousand people in 2015, a slight increase from 2014. Louisiana has had the highest murder rate in the country since 1989.

New Orleans has the highest rate in the state, followed by Monroe and Baton Rouge. And the Crescent City ranks 8th in the country for murder rates among major metropolitan areas.


The Natchitoches PD reports A preliminary coroner’s report indicates drowning was the cause of death for a man whose body was found floating in Cane River Lake in Natchitoches on Monday. The report stated “There was no evidence of trauma present, and foul play is not suspected” in the death of 28-year-old Antonio Francisco.



At the first meeting of the Restore Louisiana Task Force yesterday, Governor John Bel Edwards told members they have the important job of helping flood victims get back on their feet. The task force will determine how federal flood recovery dollars will be spent. The state could receive billions of dollars and Edwards says it must be used appropriately. President Barack Obama has asked Congress to approve two-point-six billion dollars for Louisiana’s flood recovery.


Wednesday in Washington DC, the US Senate approved 500-million dollars in flood aid. Most of that money is expected to come to Louisiana. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Jefferson Parish anticipates the lower chamber will pass it too.  Louisiana’s delegation expects Congress to approve another financial aid package in December.


State Superintendent of Education John White laid out ideas Wednesday on how to improve public schools in the state. It’s part of an effort by Louisiana to comply with a new federal law called the Every Student Succeeds Act, which is designed to improve student achievement. White believes it’s important that schools do a better job identifying specific learning needs early on.


Former Louisiana College President Joe Aguillard has filed a lawsuit against  the private Baptist college. Aguillard was president of the college for nine years. His rocky presidency ended in 2014 after two attempts to oust him from the leadership position. The suit, seeking  civil damages,  was filed Tuesday in the 9th Judicial District Court


Around the country there have been many sightings of creepy clowns and the trend has reached Louisiana. Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz says a group of elementary aged students claimed to see clowns in the woods behind their school. He says it turned out to be a hoax after the kids saw stories online, but authorities are taking incidents like this very seriously. Authorities say this might be a joke to some people but they will be on the lookout for suspicious behavior and take action when necessary.


A man has been arrested after walking near an elementary school with an assault rifle. Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Don Coppola says they received numerous calls Tuesday that 25-year-old Carl Willis was walking down the street carrying an AR-15. Coppola says Willis faces one charge of carrying a weapon on school grounds.


A Bossier Parish School Board committee has decided not to let MTV film a TV show at two schools in their system. School Board member Dennis Bamburg is the chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee and he says Barcroft Productions wanted to film three students, because they have chosen practice abstinence. Bamburg says the show would have supposedly centered on the students decision to be celibate, but they didn’t believe that’s how it would air on MTV.


LSU interim head Coach Ed Orgeron told reporters Wednesday that defensive lineman Davon Godchaux will be reinstated to the team. Godchaux was arrested Monday morning after authorities say he had a tussle with his girlfriend and a 10-month old child was present. Charges against Godchaux and his girlfriend were dropped. Coach “O” also said running back Leonard Fournette is a game time decision for Saturday night’s contest against Missouri.



News For Wednesday 9/28/16

News for Wednesday 092816

By Dave Graichen


The continuing resolution that contains money for flood relief efforts in Louisiana is tied up in politics, and the clock is ticking before Congress’ fall recess. US Senator Bill Cassidy says they’re going back and forth because Senate Democrats want funding for the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, in the spending bill as well. The $500 million flood aid package contains dollars earmarked for 16 states. Cassidy says a separate bill for Flint  passed the Senate, but not the House. He says they’re still trying to figure out what it will take to get the continuing resolution approved in both houses..


Denham Springs officials say about 45 percent of flooded structures in their city evaluated by FEMA are been deemed substantially damaged. FEMA inspectors evaluated 2,729 residential and commercial structures in the city and found 1,222 had sustained damage estimated to cost 50 percent or more of the structure’s value to repair.


The state Republican Party claims Governor John Bel Edwards is using the flood to raise money for his re-election campaign. Executive Director of the Louisiana GOP, Jason Dore, says the governor attended a fundraising event one night during one of his trips to Washington, D.C., to get more federal aid for flood victims. But the governor’s Communications Director, Richard Carbo, says the event was held at night, after a long day of fighting for federal assistance. He says no state dollars went towards the reception event for the fundraiser.


Sweater weather is coming to Louisiana as the first cold front of the fall has made its way to Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says this front has really lowered the humidity, and by the end of the week, low temperatures will be in the 50s for most of the state. Keim says this beautiful weather, with no rain in sight, will remain in place through the weekend and into early next week.


The Louisiana High School Athletic Association says it will be up to schools and school districts on how they plan to handle national anthem protests. The LHSAA says there were multiple incidents by schools and fans this past Friday. They said after consulting with their lawyers it was determined that any and all decisions related to individuals or team expressions during the National Anthem is up to the individual schools.


The Bayou Country Superfest has found a new home. The three-day country music festival will take place during the 2017 Memorial Day Holiday at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Superfest Producer Quint Davis says this is great for country music fans as there are over 35-thousand hotel rooms within walking distance of the Dome. The 2017 lineup will be announced on December 1st.


Political experts say Monday night’s presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is one of the most bizarre ever at that level of politics. LSU Political Science Professor Robert Hogan says it’s due, in part, to the sharp personal jabs they took at each other. He says there was also an unusual lack of actual substance in the debate. Hogan says he doesn’t feel there was a clean winner in the debate, but it seems as though Clinton presented a better case to support her position.


As the November 8 election draws closer, more and more candidates for US Senate are taking their campaigns to the airwaves. State Treasurer John Kennedy aired his first commercial during Monday night’s Saints game. Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com says we’ll likely see more ads from candidates attacking their opponents in the near future. He says Kennedy will likely be a target, given the lead he had in the beginning of the race.


Three unidentified strippers are suing the state over the ban on exotic dancers less than 21 law. The state plans to enforce the mandate on October 1st. The suit also claims the law is sexist, because it does not apply to male strippers.


Former LSU quarterback Steve Ensminger will call the plays from the press box on Saturday when the Tigers host Missouri on Saturday night. Ensminger takes over as offensive coordinator for the fired Cam Cameron.


News For Tuesday 09/27/16

News for Tuesday 092716

By Dave Graichen


Ed Orgeron has taken over as interim head coach at LSU. Athletic Director Joe Alleva spoke to reporters yesterday about the decision to let former head Coach Les Miles go. Alleva says Miles cares a lot for the players, and he did a great job developing them into fine young men. He says at this time, he feels Coach O is the right man to take over the program. Alleva says making such a change is never easy, but changes within the program needed to happen.


Miles spoke about the issue Yesterday as well when he made an appearance on the Dan Patrik Show. He said he didn’t fight the decision, but hinted that he would like to coach again.

Miles was the head coach for over 11 seasons and won 77-percent of his games.


A new poll on Louisiana’s US Senate race finds Republican Charles Boustany and Democrat Foster Campbell tied at 15-percent. Republican John Fleming and Democrat Caroline Fayard are just behind them, while GOP Treasurer John Kennedy is at 11-percent. Pollster John Couvillion of JMC analytics says his survey shows 25-percent of voters are undecided.


Education leaders in Louisiana are looking at ways to improve public education, in compliance with a new federal law that goes into effect for the next school year. State Superintendent John White says the Every Student Succeeds Act is the first federal education law that’s been passed since 2001, and it requires states to outline a plan for improving education. He says he’s confident Louisiana can make great strides in education, as long as the students remain the focus of the discussions.


Five weeks after the historic flooding in south Louisiana, many people still have debris piled up in their front yards. Spokesperson for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Mike Steele, says crews have hit the 55-percent mark for completion of debris removal. Steele says crews have been hard at work for the past several weeks, and it will likely be a few more weeks before all the debris has been removed. He says they are asking the public to be patient.


A body was found floating in the Cane River in Natchitoches Monday. Detectives have been able to determine that the deceased individual is a 28-year-old Hispanic male by the name of Antonio Francisco. Authorities are still trying to determine a cause of death.


A man who was convicted in August of second degree murder in the death of his wife in 1962 has been sentenced to life in prison. A jury found Felix Vail guilty of killing Mary Horton Vail and trying to make it look like a drowning accident on the Calcasieu River.


As thousands of residents in south Louisiana continue to put the pieces of their life back together, many people feel like this nightmare will never end. But former Governor Kathleen Blanco says one of her biggest takeaways from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita is that people in Louisiana are fighters, and they don’t give up. Blanco says last night’s game in the Superdome was a reminder about how resilient communities can be. She says we will recover from this and she encourages residents to keep their heads held high, because this too shall pass.




For the second consecutive year, the Saints start their season with three consecutive losses. New Orleans lost to Atlanta 45-32 Monday night.


LSU interim head coach Ed Orgeron promises changes to LSU’s offense. The Tigers rank dead last in the SEC in passing and 12th in the league in total offense. Orgeron says they want to spread the ball around and make the passing game more dynamic. Orgeron will make his debut as interim head coach on Saturday night when the Tigers take on Missouri.


News For Monday 09/26/16

News for Monday 092616

By Dave Graichen


Time ran out on the LSU Tigers on Saturday night in their loss to Auburn and time has also run out on head football coach Les Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Athletic Director Joe Alleva has made the decision over the weekend to fire Miles and Cameron and name defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron interim head coach. Miles leaves LSU as the second winningest coach in school history. Only the late Charlie McClendon had more, as he notched 137 wins in 18 years.


The Louisiana Department of Health has updated the number of Zika and West Nile cases in the state. There are now 26 confirmed cases of West Nile in Louisiana so far this year. There were no deaths linked to West Nile in 2016. There are 31 confirmed Zika cases in the state so far. All of the cases of Zika virus were travel related and there has been no local transmission.


Buckwheat Zydeco, legendary accordionist and singer, passed away Saturday morning of lung cancer at the age of 68. Stanley Dural, Jr, better known as Buckwheat, helped to introduce Louisiana Zydeco music to the world. He performed during the 1996 summer Olympics closing ceremony, President Bill Clinton’s inauguration, and was featured on the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Dural was diagnosed with lung cancer in January of 2013.


Presidential candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, will duke it out tonight in their first debate. The debate will air from 8 to 9:30 p.m. Central Time. ULM Political Science Professor Dr. Joshua Stockley expects viewers will see the combination of information and typical candidate sparring. He says these are two individuals who recognize the clock is ticking on the campaign and the polls are tight. You can hear the debate tonight starting at 8 on 970 KSYL


Tonight’s Saints-Falcons game marks the 10th anniversary of the Mercedes Benz Superdome reopening after Hurricane Katrina. Former Governor Kathleen Blanco says, after the storm,  the building’s roof was badly damaged and it was a symbol of despair for New Orleans. She says repairing the stadium in nine months rather than the predicted 2 years was a huge endeavor. She says Saints owner Tom Benson promised if they could open the Superdome before the 2006 season, he wouldn’t move the franchise. The rest is history.


Over a month after the historic flooding in south Louisiana, many flood victims are still struggling to recover. Congressman Garret Graves of Baton Rouge has introduced a bill to help future disaster victims get assistance in a timely manner. He says the biggest complaint he’s heard is that it’s taking too long to get money from flood insurance claims. Graves’ bill would require the national flood insurance program to make determinations within 30 days of the claim being filed. He says people need this assistance now, and he wants to push this bill through in an expedited process.


The Advisory Council on Student Behavior finds over one-thousand kindergartners were suspended last school year. New Orleans attorney and chairwoman of the council, Jennifer Coco, says they hope to find better ways to discipline students than kicking them out of class.


After donating thousands of dollars to flood damaged schools in Louisiana, Taylor Swift is helping even more students get back in the classroom. Livingston Parish School System officials say the pop megastar is donating $50-thousand to help with the rebuilding process. Swift has already made similar donations in Ascension parish and Central.


In one of the largest protests the city of New Orleans has seen in years, several hundred people poured into Jackson Square on Saturday afternoon to protest the city’s failure to remove four Confederate monuments. The protesters were met by dozens of cops behind barricades and on horseback. The area around the square’s central equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson was barricaded because protesters had announced plans to toss ropes over it and try to pull it down.The New Orleans Police Department reported that a total of seven people were arrested


The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office reports an apparent murder-suicide Sunday in Metairie took the lives of 67-year-old man and his 68-year-old wife.  Two of the deceased couples family members called 911 after making the "gruesome" discovery of the two bodies. It appeared that Larry Townsend shot his wife Linda and then himself.


The Saints are 0-2 heading into their Monday night matchup with their NFC South rival the Atlanta Falcons. A loss tonight and it will be very difficult for the boys in Black and Gold to make the playoffs.



News For Friday 09/23/16

News for Friday 092316

By Dave Graichen


It’s been a long time coming, but a former Rapides Parish teacher won her court battle against the school district after claiming she was wrongfully terminated back in 2001. Patricia Powell was a teacher at Tioga Elementary School in January 1998 when her photo and comments were included in a Town Talk article about the settlement that former Superintendent Betty Cox had reached with the district. Powell alleged that the district took its revenge on her for those comments. Judge Thomas Yeager agreed with Powell and awarded the former educator $1,147,000, plus interest and court costs.


Congress has put together a $500 million flood aid package for Louisiana. US Senator Bill Cassidy says Louisiana’s relief is coming from two pots of money, this is the first and the second is coming in December. Some of this funding could go to other states, but Cassidy is confident a majority will go to Louisiana. He says as soon as this is passed, the money will be available to the state. The flood aid for Louisiana must be approved by next Friday at midnight.


Governor John Bel Edwards responded to a viral video of a house that was poorly repaired under the Shelter at Home Program. He said that particular residence had not been inspected yet and it would have never passed. He reminded listeners on his radio show that the program pays for basic repairs- just enough to make the home livable. He says Shelter at Home workers are now required to show what kind of work will be done.


The Military Family Assistance Fund, which was originally set up to support families when a National Guardsman was deployed overseas, is now helping veterans who are affected by the flooding. Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Col. Joey Strickland says the legislature modified the fund to help all veterans who have a financial need. Strickland says they hope by the end of this month to give out a total of 350-thousand dollars to flood impacted veterans.


Monday is the deadline for Livingston parish pet owners to claim pets that were lost in the flood, and then shelters will start adopting them out. Executive Director of the Humane Society of Louisiana, Jeff Dorson, says they have been sheltering over 500 pets from the Livingston parish area since the flood, but they could only hold them for 45 days. Dorson says people who lost a pet should check the Livingston Reuniting Pets Facebook page or contact the Humane Society of Louisiana. He says adoption counselors can help people find their lost pets.


The Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report ranks Louisiana’s roadways 34thin the nation for overall performance, up 6 spots from the previous year. Louisiana ranked poorly in the areas of fatality rates and urban interstate pavement condition. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says there’s almost a $13 billion backlog in transportation projects, and it will take more consistent funding resources in order to improve Louisiana’s overall ranking.


East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore says the fatal shooting by four sheriff deputies of a 48-year-old man in February was legally justified. Moore says Travis Stevenson was repeatedly ramming his vehicle into a Sheriff’s Office S-U-V. Moore says witnesses interviewed by State Police supported the claim of self-defense. Moore says Stevenson’s family says he suffered from mental illness and extremely upset over his father’s recent death.


The first statewide safety survey of college campuses had so few respondents that the findings didn’t provide much insight. The voluntary survey aimed to address violence and sexual assault on college campuses, but only 5-percent of students participated. The board of regents says they will try to boost participation next spring.


An unusual homicide in Lafayette becomes more and more bizarre as the details unfold. Lafayette Police Officer Karl Ratcliff has confirmed the body of 23-year-old Alannah Montalvo was found dismembered in a toolbox on the side of the road, four days after her boyfriend, 36-year-old Barrett Farabee, was shot while trespassing in someone’s backyard. Police say Montalvo and Farabee had been in a relationship for quite some time prior to these horrific events.


News For Thursday 09/22/16

News for Thursday 092216

By Dave Graichen


Today is the start of the fall season and Louisianans can expect above average temperatures and below normal rainfall. That’s according to state climatologist Barry Keim. Keim says the basis for this forecast is due to a high probability for a La Nina. Keim says we’re still seeing high temperatures but we just need to sit tight because fall weather is coming soon.


The Town Talk reports The company that plans to build an aluminum plant in Pineville is having some financial problems. Creditors allege in court filings that the companies involved owe more than $2 million in unpaid loans and contracts. A petition has been filed to force Revolution Aluminum Propco LLC, which purchased the property for the proposed complex, into bankruptcy to collect loans that have not been repaid. The full story is in today’s “Towntalk”.


Two men and a woman, all from Alexandria, remain in jail accused of beating and shooting at a woman before carjacking her vehicle early Saturday morning. The incident occurred, according to the APD, at a  Masonic Drive convenience store. Police say the woman was not shot, but was taken to a local hospital for treatment.


A former LSU player reportedly told a Baton Rouge radio station that Tigers Quarterback Brandon Harris got death threats following the season opening loss to Wisconsin, and it really bothered him. Jamie Howard, who was the starting quarterback for LSU in the early 90s, said he was giving Harris some advice because he was having a hard time with the death threats.


Governor John Bel Edwards is in Washington, D.C., today continuing the ongoing battle to get federal funding for flood recovery efforts in Louisiana. Edwards says he is optimistic they can get something done before lawmakers recess at the end of the month for the November election.  The state has requested $2.6 billion in federal funding, but Edwards doesn’t expect to get the full amount at once. The initial flood recovery dollars would be contained in a stop-gap funding bill that would prevent a government shutdown.


A new poll released by Southern Media and Opinion Research finds Governor John Bel Edwards’ approval rating is at 63-percent. That’s a 13-percent increase from May. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says says the governor still faces some hurdles, especially with housing issues after the flooding. But he says this popularity will likely benefit him during the upcoming legislative session.


The survey also finds presidential candidate, Democrat Hillary Clinton, has an unfavorable rating in Louisiana of 60-percent. Pinsonat says Republican Donald Trump has shot in front of her by a good margin and is very popular with white voters in Louisiana. According to the poll, if the election were held today, 49-percent would vote for Trump, 33-percent for Clinton, and 8-percent for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.


A new poll from Southern Media Opinion and Research finds it’s a tight race for U.S. Senate in Louisiana. Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy is still leading with 17-percent, followed by Republican Congressman Charles Boustany with 15-percent. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says Democrat Caroline Fayard is improving in the polls and is up to 11-percent.


Blue Bell Creameries is recalling select flavors of ice cream distributed across the South after finding chocolate chip cookie dough from a third-party supplier for use as an ingredient was potentially contaminated with listeria. Texas-based ice cream maker said it’s recalling half gallons and pints of Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and half gallons of Blue Bell Cookie Two. That’s after intensified internal testing found the cookie dough was potentially tainted. Blue Bell says no illnesses have been reported.


After deliberating for one hour, a six-person jury in Ouachita Parish determined West Monroe Police Officer Jody Ledoux was “Not Guilty” of negligent homicide in the shooting death of Raymond Martinez in December of 2014. Ledoux testified he thought the homeless man was reaching for a gun, when he was pulling a silver and gray cell phone from his pocket


LSU enrollment numbers are in and the Baton Rouge campus has set records. The incoming freshman class is the most academically talented class with composite ACT scores of 25.6 and average GPA of 3.4. The enrollment of African American and Hispanic students is at an all-time high. Louisiana Tech also saw record enrollment numbers. The freshman class topped 2-thousand, which is the largest in the school’s history.


The investigation is ongoing in Lafayette parish about a body that was discovered in a tool box on the side of the road. Cpl. Bridgett Dugas says they have connected the victim, Alannah Montalvo, with a  naked man who was recently shot and killed while trespassing. Dugas says Montalvo was in a relationship with the naked trespasser, 36-year-old Barrett Farabee. She says they still do not know the exact cause of death for Montalvo, but they do believe Farabee was involved.


The living were not the only ones affected by the August flood in south Louisiana. Henry Yennie with the Department of Health says over 350 graves were disrupted in at least 8 parishes. Yennie says so far they have only identified roughly 15-percent of the caskets.


A new study from Triple A finds millions of drivers are wasting their money on premium gasoline. Spokesperson Don Redman says they encourage people to check their car’s owner’s manual to see what kind of gas their car requires. He says 70-percent of vehicles on the road just need regular gas. Redman says some high end vehicles do require premium gas because of the way the engine is calibrated and the only differences between regular and premium gas are the octane levels and the price.


A grand jury has rejected murder charges against the two men accused of fatally shooting two Southern University students in April. 25-year-old Brandon Henderson could still stand trial for aggravated assault with a firearm. The grand jury did not take action against 23-year-old Ernest Felton, so right now his charges are in limbo.


The Saints have put cornerback PJ Williams on injured reserve, after the second-year pro was carted off the field last Sunday after taking a knee to the helmet twice while trying to make a tackle. The Saints will host Atlanta on Monday night.


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