News for Thursday 091114
By Dave Graichen
The Texas teen who has been charged with calling in bomb threats to four Rapides Parish schools Tuesday, is facing charges in his home town of Fredericksburg for a similar threat at that city's high school. Police there questioned Reuben Byon and during a second interview he confessed to making phone calls to the high school, school board member and to an assistant vice principal at the High School. Extradition to Rapides Parish will begin "as soon as possible. Each count carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison at hard labor.
The US Department of Energy has given final approval for Sempra Energy to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its plant in Cameron Parish. With this, Sempra can begin construction to expand their facility near Hackberry. The expansion project is expected to create about 3,000 construction jobs and as many as 150 permanent full-time jobs. With the expansion, the Cameron plant will be capable of producing up to 12 million metric tons of LNG for export. Construction is expected to begin this fall and they should be fully operational by 2019.
An Iberia Parish man allegedly ingested a lethal amount of narcotics while barricading himself in a room of the residence during a drug bust. Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office says thirty-five year-old Heath Duplechain is in a medically induced coma, and deputies say he will be facing numerous drug charges, if he makes it.
Lawmakers launched their latest effort Wednesday to try to chip away at a $12 billion backlog of road and bridge repair and improvement work across Louisiana, seeking ideas to raise new transportation dollars in an anti-tax environment. Louisiana, like many states, is struggling with a stagnant gasoline tax that hasn’t kept pace with construction inflation and a disinterest from the governor and lawmakers to raise new taxes to fill the gaps in roadwork. Lawmakers instructed the Transportation Funding Task Force to look for enterprising ways to tackle the backlog. Task force recommendations are due Jan. 15.
It’s been two weeks since the state Department of Health and Hospitals ordered a chlorine burn for the St. John the Baptist Parish water system, because a potentially deadly brain-eating amoeba was detected in the water. The state’s safe drinking water administrator, Jake Causey, says efforts to increase and maintain a certain level of disinfectant is ongoing. In the meantime, Causey says the water coming out of a faucet in St. John is safe to drink, even though they’ve increased chlorine levels. DHH advises residents to make sure tap water doesn’t go up your nose, because that’s how the bacteria can become harmful.
The community of Jennings got together in a big way on Wednesday to welcome home an officer who was shot in the line of duty and has been in recovery since the June incident. Jennings Police Chief Todd D’Albor says Sergeant Ricky Benoit was responding to a domestic violence call when he was shot in the neck by the suspect. The streets of Jennings were lined with well-wishers all the way to Benoit’s home which he has not seen since June 23rd. The bullet came within millimeters of killing or permanently paralyzing the 25-year veteran officer. D’Albor says Benoit can now move his arms, legs and neck and can walk a short distance but a full recovery could take years.
St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe issued a statement Tuesday saying they plan to cut about 300 jobs. The hospital is one of Ouachita Parish’s top 10 largest private employers. St. Francis issued a statement saying they are taking steps to line up their expenses with expected revenue.
Slidell Police Detective John Cole, who was seriously injured in a crash last weekend, died Wednesday afternoon at a Slidell hospital. The 31 year old Cole lost control of his Jeep Wrangler and overturned in a ditch. Daniel Hanlon, a front-seat passenger, died at the scene of the crash Sunday morning.
A Baton Rouge man has admitted he sexually touched a sleeping woman aboard a cross-country flight, according to federal prosecutors in New Jersey. Devender Singh, a 62-year-old Indian national, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge of abusive sexual contact. He faces up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he’s sentenced Oct. 23. While the plane was in the air, the woman fell asleep. Prosecutors say she awoke to find Singh kissing her face with his hand inside her shirt, and he was touching himself in a sexual manner.
LSU receiver Travin Dural suffered a deep laceration to the head during a car accident Sunday morning, but coach Les Miles said he will play Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe. Dural needed “about 15 stitches” to his forehead, said his former high school coach at Breaux Bridge, Paul Broussard. He had not been practicing with the team this week because he’s unable to wear a helmet with the stitches. Miles said Dural returned to practice with the team Wednesday. Doctors have cleared Dural to play Saturday if he can wear the helmet while not disturbing the stitches.
Louisiana Tech will kick-off conference play tonight with a meeting against North Texas. Kick-off is at six o’ clock in Denton and the game can be seen on C-B-S Sports Network. The Bulldogs are coming off a big win over U-L Lafayette, while the Mean Green beat up on SMU last week. Tech head coach Skip Holtz says he’s impressed with North Texas’ power running game. North Texas beat Louisiana Tech 28-13 last season. Hear the game tonight on ESPN 1410 airtime 5:30.