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A 17-year-old is dead and a 19-year-old was injured after a suspected drunk driver struck the girls as they were walking on LA 784 in Red River Parish. State Police Trooper Matt Harris says they responded to the crash Wednesday just before 6 p.m. and determined 47-year-old Kenneth Morse of Coushatta was impaired.

“He’s charged with vehicular negligent injury, vehicular homicide, open container and DWI first offense.”

Harris says Morse was not injured in the crash and was booked into the Red River Parish Jail. He says anytime you drink and drive, you put others and yourself at risk because your reaction time slows and your motor skills are affected.

“The cause of this crash is not that he exited the roadway and struck two people, it’s because he was impaired and that’s what caused him to exit the road and strike two people, ultimately claiming the life of one young girl.”

Harris says 19-year-old Lacy Ross sustained minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital, but 17-year-old Rachel Barnette of Coushatta was pronounced dead at the scene. He says in 2016, 52% of fatal crashes in the northwest Louisiana area involved drunk drivers.

“We’re continuing our efforts to deter impaired driving and stop it so the highways are a safer place for yours and mine to travel.”

 

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The state Department of Education announced today that for the 5th straight year, advanced placement student results have increased dramatically in Louisiana. In 2017, there was a 10% jump from last year in high school students earning college credits.

State Superintendent of Education John White says there is continuing pattern of significant academic progress.

“Five years ago, fewer than 3,000 across our state were achieving an AP credit. We have more than doubled that number over the course of the last five years.”

White says African American students have also made great strides this year when it comes to Advanced Placement credits. He says the number of African Americans students earning college credits have increased 17% earning a 3, 4, or 5 score.

“And over the course of the last five years, have grown 197%, also a notable and extraordinary accomplishment.”

White says the East Baton Rouge Parish School District has made the most noticeable gains when it comes to African American students receiving college credits. He says overall, these numbers show the dedication advanced placement teachers put in to teaching their students.

“When you maintain those high expectations overtime, you can change lives. Thousands of lives are being changed in Louisiana schools because of the high expectations that our educators hold.”

 
 

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East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome condemns remarks made at a Metro Council meeting, where a community activist suggested the police ambush was justice for Alton Sterling. Arthur “Silky Slim” Reed told Mayor Pro-tem Scott Wilson justice has been served for Sterling.

“Justice has already been served. An eye for an eye. So justice came when Gavin Long came,” Reed said.

Broome says these remarks in no way reflect the views of her administration or the people of Baton Rouge. Reed asserts no call was made to emergency services the night Sterling was fatally shot outside at Baton Rouge convenience store. He went on to say that Officer Blane Salamoni started the uproar when he shot Sterling.

“Salamoni should be charged with the murder of those police officers that was killed cause his actions is what got those officers killed,” Reed said.

Broome called Reed’s comments hateful, offensive, and unacceptable. She says the memories of the fallen officers should be honored and preserved. Reed says the justice system in Baton Rouge is being run by a bunch of criminals. He says he’s not anti-police, he’s anti-injustice.

“When the Klu Klux Klan infiltrate law enforcement and act like officers, they become the damn Blue Klux Klan with a license to kill,” Reed said.

Wilson says several people had to be escorted out of last night’s heated meeting, and Reed was one of them. He says this was supposed to be a chance for members of the community to vent and express their frustrations, but things got out of hand.

“I apologize to the families of Montrell Jackson and Brad Garafola and Matthew Gerald. That’s disrespectful,” Wilson said.

 
 
 
 
 

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New ULM athletics director Nick Floyd laid out his vision for Warhawk athletics today during his introductory press conference. Floyd says his number one priority is to run an athletic program with the highest degree of integrity.
 
"We will never sacrifice our principles for the sake of a victory or two," Floyd said. "Will there be missteps? Sure there will be and we'll deal with those, but we'll be accountable." 
 
Floyd says takes over an athletic program that is known as the lowest funded in the country out of the 128 FBS schools. He says fiscal responsibility is just the nature of the business.
 
"We're going to be very aggressive in maximizing every resource that we have, every revenue stream, but at the same time we're going to manage those resources in the most effective and efficient manner possible." 
 
oyd has 33 years in collegiate athletics management. Since 2004, he's served as the executive associate director of athletics at East Carolina.
 
Last school year, ULM's football, men's basketball and baseball program all finished with losing records. Floyd says he wants to win at a high level. 
 
"We want to position the program to compete for championships in the Sun Belt Conference and we want our student-athletes to have the absolute best experience possible," Floyd said.  

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The Cajun music community says goodbye to a legend, as D.L. Menard passed away at the age of 85. Executive Director of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, Mike Shepherd, says Menard was known as the Cajun Hank Williams. Menard even met the country music icon in 1951.

“He has done a lot of things reminiscent of Hank Williams. He plays guitar and sings and wore a cowboy hat and suits. He reminded people a whole lot of him,” Shepherd said.

Born Doris Leon Menard, the zydeco music idol started playing music in the 40s. He picked up the guitar when he was 15 and began his professional career at 17. Shepherd says Menard’s 2010 album nominated for a Grammy for best Zydeco/Cajun album. He says Menard is best known for his hit song “The Back Door.”

“There was a book written over in Lafayette called the Back Door, the most played and recorded Cajun song ever selling over half a million copies in 1952,” Shepherd said.

Shepherd says Menard is survived by his two children. He says his son Larry plays in a Hall of Fame Band called Atchafalaya. He says Menard was always supportive of young artists and became a role model for many.

“Promoter’s not the right word. He encouraged them. He had a lot of legacy he gave to young people in the area and was well respected by the young Cajun community,” Shepherd said.

 
 
 
 
 

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Entergy Louisiana customers will have upgraded meters installed at their homes by 2021. Entergy spokesperson Greg Guilbeau says customers will be notified when crews will change their meters, but they should not see a noticeable disruption in service.

“We’ll have to pull their existing meter and then plug in the new meter. So it’ll be a minimal disruption, more or less off and on when we unplug the old meter and plug in the new meter,” Guilbeau said.

Guilbeau says upgrading to these advanced meters will provide numerous benefits. He says customers will get more detailed information on energy use, so they can take control of their energy consumption.

“Anytime you have more information as to how and when you use your peaks and valleys on electricity, it should allow you to better manage that time,” Guilbeau said, “You may want to run your washing machine at a certain time versus when you run it today.”

Guilbeau says Entergy will start installing the new meters in 2019. He says this new technology will also help with outage detection. He says the new system will allow the company to know right away if a customer loses power.

“We can ping the meter to verify whether there’s power or not, and we can also ping the meter once we fell as though all the power is restored to verify power is back on,” Guilbeau said.

 
 
 
 
 

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U.S. Senator John Kennedy proposes a new federal health care law should require abled bodied adults without children to work in order to receive Medicaid. That’s one of several amendments Kennedy filed as the debate continues over an effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

He says he doesn’t want to take Medicaid away from those who need it. He just wants fewer people to need it.

“The best way not to need Medicaid is to be able to afford your own insurance, and the best way to do that is have a job,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy says the current Senate Health Care bill imposes a 20 hour a week work requirement for abled bodied adults without dependents. But it leaves it up to each governor’s discretion. Kennedy wants to remove the option for the governors.

“I want to make it a requirement because if it’s optional in Louisiana, Governor Edwards will never do it. He refused to do it for food stamps, and he’ll refuse to do it for Medicaid,” Kennedy said.

The amendment does exempt people under age 19, those in addiction treatment programs, and young adults in school or work training programs. Kennedy says he wants everyone to know the dignity of work, which is why he’s pushing for this nationwide requirement. He says this is about helping people transition off of welfare programs.

“Our social programs in American were meant to be bridges, not parking lots. For too many people they’ve become parking lots, and the best way to help folks help themselves is encourage them to get a job,” Kennedy said.

 
 
 
 
 

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West Nile activity is picking up in Louisiana as the state Office of Public Health says seven individuals have been diagnosed with the mosquito borne disease this month. Three cases have been reported in the Baton Rouge area and the others are in in Bossier, Ouachita, Rapides and Morehouse.

OPH Assistant Secretary Dr. Parham Jaberi says each year we’re seeing a decrease in cases from the year before.

“We’ve had a little bit of a late start to our West Nile cases. How early or how late we start can be an indicator of how significant the report and the trends can become.”

Two deaths were reported from the West Nile Virus in 2016 and none have been reported this year. Jaberi says mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, which Louisiana has seen a lot of after recent rainfall.

“Water that’s collected in pools or in birdbaths or any other containers that breed mosquitoes, that could potentially put someone at higher risk of being bit by a mosquito.”

Jaberi says 90% of West Nile cases are asymptomatic. But he says a very small percentage of individuals who contract the virus will develop the neuroinvasive disease.

“Those are the cases where you wind up in the hospital because the person is severely ill, they are experiencing symptoms that are extremely painful or they have a change in their neurological status.”

 
 

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House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Jefferson Parish has been discharged from MedStar Washington hospital to begin "intensive inpatient rehabilitation.
 
Scalise's doctors say the Congressman has made excellent progress in his recovery from a life-threatening gunshot wound to the hip six weeks ago.


They say Scalise is in good spirits and looking forward to returning to Capitol Hill once he completes rehabilitation.

Scalise has undergone several surgeries since he was shot on June 14th when a gunman opened fire on several federal lawmakers who were practicing in Virginia for a charity baseball game.
 
 

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Two Shreveport juveniles have been charged in back to back store burglaries. Cpl. Marcus Hines with Shreveport Police says the first robbery occurred on Tuesday at a Boost Mobile store. He says officers responded to the call after 10 p.m.

“When they got there, they notices the front window of the business had been busted out, items had been taken from within the business,” Hines said, “Officers weren’t able to catch anyone that day, but they did recover surveillance video.”

Two males were visible in the video leaving the store with merchandise. Hines says it appears the culprits made off with several phones from the store. The front window was repaired shortly after. He says officers responded to a similar burglary call around 11 p.m. the very next day.

“Same business, alarm is going off. They get there and the window’s busted out yet again, and two people were detained. One was inside the business, and one was seen coming out of the rear of the business,” Hines said.

The juveniles are ages 10 and 12, and Hines says that speaks to the tragedy of what is happening with some of our youth today. The boys are already on probation for other burglaries. He says it’s a sad situation that these two will now face additional counts of that charge, and the parents weren’t much help.

“We could not contact parents for these children at 10, 11 o’clock at night. These are 10- and 11-year-old kids, and the parents don’t even know where these children are,” Hines said.

 
 
 
 
 

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President Donald Trump announces transgendered individuals are no longer allowed to serve in the U.S. military in any capacity. Richland Parish Congressman Ralph Abraham, who serves on the House Armed Forces Committee, says this change makes sense. He says if someone decides to undergo a gender transformation surgery while enlisted, it could hinder their service to the military.

“You only sign up for 4 years and if you’re not able to fight for 2.5 of those, then that’s really unfair to the rest of your platoon. It does become a very important readiness issue.”

But Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana Marjorie Esman says this is a huge mistake by President Trump because it’s clear discrimination. She says it’s against the law in America to discriminate against people based on their medical history.

“To single out a particular group of people to say their medical conditions might be too expensive has no bearing on whether or not these people are better for the country to have them serving.”

Abraham says this is not a discrimination issue. He says transgender individuals can create problems that the military should not have to address.

“That disrupts literally everything, as far as bathroom privileges, as far as dining privileges, does he take a shower with the women? No, I hope not.”

Esman says the president is blaming the victim, as transgender individuals are not by nature disruptive. She says the best way to solve this problem is to get rid of the people causing the disruption, not the transgender individuals.

“The woman who is sexually assaulted, it’s her fault because she was wearing a short skirt, no it’s not her fault for wearing a short skirt. It’s not transgender individuals fault is somebody else has trouble dealing with them.”

 
 

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Most Louisiana residents approve of Donald Trump’s job performance, according to a recent Gallup poll. LSU political science professor Robert Hogan says that’s not surprising since the president won an overwhelming majority of the popular vote in the Bayou State. He says the poll shows that Louisiana voters like what the president is doing.

“They like the messages that he’s sending about low regulations. He wants to repeal Obamacare. All those are issues that would resonate with voters, particularly the voters that put Mr. Trump into office,” Hogan said.

Louisiana is one of 17 states where a majority of residents say the president is doing a good job six months into his term. Mr. Trump carried Louisiana in the election with 58 percent of the vote. This recent poll is a significant drop down to 51 percent. Hogan says that’s not unusual as most presidents start out with a honeymoon period.

“Over time his has dropped a good bit nationally, but I suspect the drop has not been as great here as in other parts of the country,” Hogan said.

West Virginia is home to the most Trump supporters, with 60 percent saying they approve of his performance. Not many fans of the president live in Vermont though, as only 29 percent of those surveyed are pleased with the commander in chief. Hogan says voters in the Bayou State will likely support Mr. Trump no matter what he’s able to accomplish.

“If he’s unable to achieve the goals that he has set for himself and or his part, he’s going to blame the Democrats or the media or someone else,” Hogan said.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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More people than ever are lying on resumes to get a job. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 85 percent of employers caught applicants fibbing on their resumes or application, up from just 66 percent five years ago. UNO business professor Mark Rosa blames a competitive job market.

“There’s more generation on the current generation to find work and to find meaningful work than there’s ever been,” Rosa said, “There’s more people in school, more people with credentials, more people with experience.”

Rosa says some applicants may only embellish a little bit, like adding a few years to their experience, while others go as far as to make diplomas from fake universities. But he says employers are getting better at catching them, because most things on a resume are verifiable.

“You can call the registrar at the university with respect to college credentials. You can call previous employers with respect to their work history,” Rosa said.

Rosa says the internet is also helping employers weed out untruthful applicants, which increases the risk of getting caught. He says if someone is caught lying on a resume, the consequences could be disastrous for the person telling white lies.

“Their career is completely finishes. They’re usually a young person. It’s a mess. They’re never to be seen again,” Rosa said.

 
 
 
 
 

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As Congress is set to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance program in September, the Natural Resources Defense Council is urging a shift to moving homeowners to a safer area rather than rebuilding properties that repeatedly flood. Rob Moore with the NRDC says for each 100 dollars spent to rebuild homes, FEMA spends only $1.75 to move individuals to a less flood prone area.


“Many of those homeowners would probably prefer to relocate somewhere where flooding is no longer a part of their life and that would also save the flood insurance the expense of having to rebuild these properties.”
 
Moore says they recommend that the National Flood Insurance Program provides homeowners a guaranteed buyout if they no longer want to rebuild.
“The flood insurance program would often get a financial saving for helping people move to higher ground.”
 
Louisiana leads the country for the number of repeated flooded properties. He says another change Congress should make to the NFIP is for homeowners to be educated on the flooding history of their home, because they are currently denied access to that information.

“Currently the only people that can get it, already must have flood insurance and that information won’t be provided until after they filed their first damage claim, that’s not really the time to inform people that their home repeatedly floods.”
 
 

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A new startup out of Lafayette called Short and Fat offers more clothing options to men with a different build. Co-founder Jeff Martin says men who are “vertically challenged and horizontally blessed” have to resort to shopping at big and tall stores.

But they often end up trading one solution for more problems, like trying to find a shirt that fits around the neck.

“When I do find one, I end up with this huge shirt that’s huge on my shoulders. The sleeves are too long, and I have ton of material to tuck in,” Martin said, “I end up looking like a kid wearing his dad’s shirt.”

Martin says many men aren’t even aware they’re wearing ill-fitting shirts because they’re so used to settling for whatever they can get. He says it is noticeable when a collar is too small or the sleeves too short, and then there’s the problem of the belly wink.

“That’s when you sit down and the fabric stretches so tight around your belly that those two bottom buttons pull apart, and it winks at anyone across the room,” Martin said.

Customers can build their own shirts on Short and Fat’s Kickstarter page, choosing their fabric, collar, buttons, pocket, and cuffs. The shirt is then made to the customer’s exact measurements. Martin says these easy care fabrics offer a wider selection than can be found at a big and tall store.

“We have fabrics that are beautiful and they cross the spectrum. So if you want to be a little more bold and be out there, we have things to choose from, and if you want your standard white or blue dress shirt, we can do that as well,” Martin said.

Short and Fat has a $15,000 goal on Kickstarter that Martin says will help them launch their own website. Donations can be made here

 
 
 
 
 

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The Saints look to get back to the playoffs this season as they report for training camp on Wednesday. The New Orleans franchise has finished 7-and-9, the last three seasons. And NFL analyst Mike Detillier projects the Saints will once again be solid on offense with Quarterback Drew Brees at the helm and an emerging pass catcher.


"This offense has been a top six offense every year under Sean Payton," Detillier said. "And if there's a superstar on this team other than Drew Brees, it's Michael Thomas."
 
Thomas had a big rookie campaign as he caught 92 passes for 1,137 yards and 9 touchdowns.
 
The Saints have failed to notch a winning record since 2013 because of problems on defense. Detillier says says it remains to be seen if the Saints defense has improved enough in the offseason to keep opposing offenses off the scoreboard.
 
"Can you slow them down, can you win the turnover battle and also put better pressure on the quarterback," Detillier said.
 
One of the big off-season additions was the signing of future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson. Detillier says hopefully this means head coach Sean Payton will be more committed to the running game this year. 
 
"Play a little smash mouth football, play a little keep away and also keep your suspect defense off the field," Detillier said.
 
The first day of practices at the team's training facility is Thursday.  
 
 

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Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand announced his retirement today, as the most vocal sheriff in the state will soon take to the airwaves. After spending 10 years at the helm of JPSO, Normand says a good leader knows when it’s time to leave. He adds good leaders evaluate opportunities.

“As it turns out, my next opportunity is that I have been offered to take over for Garland Robinette as the radio talk show host for WWL Radio,” Normand said.

Mid-morning host Garland Robinette announced his retirement from WWL earlier this month. The sheriff joked that he’d be stepping across the line to the dark side and joining the media. But he’s excited to lead in a different way. He says that’s what intrigued him most about this opportunity.

“I will be able to be part of stimulating and influencing the development of public opinion in so much broader of a landscape than I could ever imagine as sheriff,” Normand said.

Normand will retire on August 31 and chief deputy and former state representative Joe Lopinto will be sworn in as the next sheriff of Jefferson Parish. Normand began his career in law enforcement in 1977 in Orleans Parish. He says although rewarding, it’s not an easy job.

“I’d be less than honest if I didn’t tell you I’m a little tired. Thinking about 1,500 men and women going home every night, it wears on you,” Normand said.

 
 
 
 
 

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Both of Louisiana's U.S. Senators have voted in favor of debate on a healthcare bill. Senior Senator Bill Cassidy has authored amendments to the GOP replacement bill, but they haven’t gained much support.

UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says Cassidy’s proposals run against the most conservative elements in the Republican Party.

“Cassidy has been over on the more moderate, let’s fix things, let’s make things better but that can’t get much traction in the Senate now either.”

Senator John Kennedy has proudly stated he will vote to repeal Obamacare even without a replacement. Cross says this is what got Kennedy elected to the position.

“Ran very much as an opponent to Obamacare, going to rip it out root and branch so the pressure on them to follow through now that they finally have the majority in the House and Senate is really extraordinary.”

The Edwards administration has raised concerns about repealing the current federal healthcare law. They say over 400,000 Louisiana residents are insured because of the expansion of Medicaid. Cross says Cassidy, who has worked as a doctor in the state’s charity hospital system, understands the risks of taking away health insurance to thousands.

“He’s the one who is most amenable to fixing Obamacare. He’s the one who is very concerned about the expansion of Medicaid folks but he’s also getting it from the other side, so he’s really under the gun.”

 

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Michelle Southern reporting. 
Alabama Republican Congressman Mo Brooks is making waves with a campaign commercial in which he uses audio from the shooting at the GOP baseball game that injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. The ad notes Brooks came to the aid of those wounded in the attack at a Virginia baseball park.


Political analyst Dr. Silas Lee gives his take.

"Using an attempted assassination event like this can be risky," said Lee. "Steve Scalise is still recovering and he was critically injured."

A staffer for Scalise had said some people have different ideas about what's appropriate. Lee says advocates for gun rights may not be offended by the spot, but he feels most candidates would not use the audio from the shooting.

"And in a situation like this, the question needs to be asked of Mo Brooks if he would want someone to use him in an ad like that if that happened to him," said Lee.

The ad touts Brooks' support of the Second Amendment, and criticizes the media for asking questions about gun control after the shooting.

Lee says the problem with a commercial like this is that there typically isn't a grey area when it comes to gun advocacy, but it's the middle of the road voters you have to think about.

"Who might not be strong supporters of changing gun laws."

You can view the ad below:
 
 
 
 

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The 2017 NBA All-Star Game brought nearly $45 million to the state, according to a new LSU study. Co-author of the report Dr. Stephen Barnes says visitors spent a total of $24 million in the region over the weekend.

He says people who attended the game spent an average of $1,400 per person, while visitors who did not attend the game spent around $800 each.

“Those people that were coming for the main event spent a good bit more than you would see from a typical visitor, but even those other visitors are spending a lot of money in the regional economy,” Barnes said.

Barnes says the weekend event in mid-February brought hundreds of visitors, including international tourists. Those visitors tended to be more affluent and stayed for several days, which contributed to the increased spending. He says that’s what makes an event like this a real money maker.

“They’re going to be coming in from further away really looking to experience a weekend in New Orleans. There are going to be a lot of other parties hosted offsite, and all that leads to a greater amount of spending,” Barnes said.

Barnes says the NBA spent over $18 million on the event, with media promotions adding another $1.4 million. Sponsors contributed almost $4 million. He says that combined with secondary impacts is nearly $83 million in total spending, which generated over $2 million in new sales and excise taxes.

“New Orleans has to compete for events like this. So knowing what the benefits of this are to the region is an important part of that calculation of what resources should the region and the state bring to the table to try to help attract that event,” Barnes said.

 
 
 
 
 

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