News for Friday 010915
By Dave Graichen
A Pineville teen is facing attempted rape and other charges after he allegedly pulled a knife on a woman who had given him a ride. 17 year old Mataeo Chaney was arrested on Wednesday after an investigation by Pineville police into the incident, which happened on Dec. 19. The suspect allegedly told the victim to perform oral sex on him, but she refused. A struggle started over the knife, during which the victim was cut. The suspect then ran from the vehicle.
Police say The victim suffered a minor injury. Chaney is in the Rapides Parish detention center.
Today the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals hears three cases regarding same-sex marriage bans in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi. In September, Federal Judge Martin Feldman upheld Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage, but the ruling was appealed to the 5th Circuit. Tulane Constitutional Law Professor Keith Werhan says supporters will argue that the state has to have a legitimate reason in denying two adults who want to marry, the right to do so. He says opponents will argue on the strength of state’s rights. Because the 6th Circuit decision created a circuit split on the issue, the US Supreme Court will privately discuss same-sex marriage cases from several states today, including Louisiana. Werhan says the ultimate decision on same-sex marriage will come from the US Supreme Court, perhaps this year.
Louisiana’s public schools receive a grade of D-plus from Education Week as part of their annual report. The state’s public education system is also ranked 44th, up five spots from their previous report. House Education Chairman, Steve Carter of Baton Rouge, says a series of reforms passed in 2012, including one that allows educators who perform well to get paid more, will lead to a better grade in the future. Carter says it’s encouraging to see Louisiana move up in the rankings, because historically the bayou state has ranked 48th or 49th when it comes to public education. Louisiana received a grade of D-Minus for K-through-12 Achievement, but received a grade of B-minus for its early-education programs.
Governor Bobby Jindal, Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret will lead a Louisiana delegation to Europe for a ten-day economic development trip. Moret says says it’s an opportunity to meet with European companies who are considering investing in Louisiana. The group leaves Sunday.
The freezing temperatures we had has strawberry farmers working to minimize the damage on their crops here in the state. Regina Bracy, with the LSU AgCenter, says sub-freezing temps can have disastrous effects on the strawberry harvest. But Bracy adds that strawberry plants can take the cold, and she suspects that freezing weather will just delay the start of the Louisiana strawberry season.
The plea is not guilty on the charge of aggravated rape from the former “Sons of Guns” reality TV star Will Hayden. He is accused of raping a young girl in East Baton Rouge Parish on multiple occasions in the span between March 2013 and August 2014. He is also to plead in the forcible rape of a Livingston Parish woman next week.
A state lawmaker from Mandeville is introducing a bill in the upcoming legislative session that would restrict the use of cell phones to “hands-free” only on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. Representative Tim Burns says the number of fatal accidents involving vehicles plunging off the side of the bridge has gone from one every 5 years to three a year now. Burns supports a statewide ban on hand held cell phone use while driving but lawmakers can never pass such legislation.
Entergy Gulf States Louisiana plans to build a $187 million power transmission facility in the Lake Charles area, the region projected to have the fastest job growth in the state from an industrial boom that’s driving a need for more electricity. The project includes two new substations, expanding a third substation and adding about 25 miles of high-voltage transmission lines. The Lake Charles Transmission Project is one of the largest single transmission projects in Entergy’s history.