News for Wednesday 101514
By Dave Graichen
The three major candidates in the US Senate race appeared in a televised debate last night. Analysts’ have said that US Senator Mary Landrieu needed to take some shots as she’s trailing in the polls to Republican Challenger Bill Cassidy, and she did early in the debate. Congressman Cassidy stayed with party talking points during the majority of the 1 hour and stressed his intention to vote to get rid of Obamacare if elected. Retired Air Force Col Rob Maness took shots at both Landrieu and Cassidy and criticized President Obama in most of his answers.
Entergy reported thousands of customers remained without power late Tuesday after a strong long of thunderstorms caused widespread damage Monday. Governor Bobby Jindal, who declared a state of emergency, toured the Monroe/West Monroe area yesterday to survey the damage. Jindal says they are working with affected areas and FEMA is sending preliminary teams to begin damage surveys.
Governor Bobby Jindal has sent a letter to the President seeking to restore funding that helps provide free funerals for military veterans. Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David LaCerte says the Obama administration allocates the across the board cuts. He says the National Guard’s ability to perform honor detail for military veterans who have passed will be severely impaired. The across the board cuts were made to all branches of the military.
Proposed charter schools in Alexandria, Monroe and Lake Providence were put on hold Tuesday by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White told BESE members that he wants to see how the schools already being administered by Charter Schools USA perform before approving any more. That company has applied for charter schools in Monroe and Alexandria under the Louisiana Charter Foundation.
The Louisiana Department of Revenue is offering delinquent tax payers a chance to settle their overdue debt with the state. The 2014 Louisiana Tax Amnesty period begins today and runs through November 14. Deputy Secretary Jarrod Coniglio says this is a golden opportunity to get up-to-date on late taxes. He says, during the amnesty period, tax payers can settle their debt by paying 100-percent of delinquent taxes and 50-percent of interest owed. The department will waive the remaining 50-percent of interest and 100-percent of the penalty that is due. Coniglio says this year’s amnesty is offering something new, an installment plan. Last year’s tax amnesty period collected $435 million that went into the state budget.
The first meeting of a working group put together by state Senator JP Morrell to review sexual assault policies on Louisiana’s college campuses takes place today. The New Orleans lawmaker wants to craft legislation that seeks to prevent sexual assault incidents at higher education institutions in Louisiana. He says they will begin with education Today’s meeting will be mostly introductory to try to figure out the key areas they would like colleges to address in implementing sexual assault policies for students
According to a study by the Williams Institute at the University of California in Los Angeles, if same-sex couples were allowed to marry in Louisiana, it would mean an economic boost to the state. The study predicts 4,038 in-state same-sex couples would get married in Louisiana within the first three years. The figures show spending on those weddings by same-sex resident couples and their out-of-state guests would generate $28.3 million dollars in the same time frame. Weddings are big business.
Research is underway at Tulane into a finger-prick test which would identify whether or not someone had the Ebola Virus within minutes. Doctor Robert Garry says they are still in the testing phase but getting close with this. Garry’s team received a two-point-nine million dollar grant last June to develop a speedy diagnostic test that health care workers could use.
Seven people have been arrested today for participating in an online sales scam. Attorney General Buddy Caldwell says the suspects are believed to be members and affiliates of Romanian organized crime. The suspects are charged with federal racketeering for stealing approximately $1.4 million dollars from more than 500 people.
Two people sitting in a waiting room at a dentist’s office in East baton Rouge were injured yesterday when a car crashed through the building and into the room. A woman and her son were trapped under a large, 350-gallon aquarium that had to be drained and lifted using large, heavy rubber air bags. Their injuries were non-life threatening. The driver of the vehicle was not injured.
LSU Coach Les Miles says its his hope quarterback Brandon Harris will get a chance to play Saturday against Kentucky. Miles says they wanted to get Harris on the field against Florida, but the opportunity never presented itself. Anthony Jennings is expected to start against the Wildcats. The last time he played in Tiger Stadium, he was booed off the field after committing three turnovers.