News for Friday 012315
By Dave Graichen
Employees at General Electric's Pineville plant have been told the facility is closing. The valve plant was formerly operated by Dresser Inc. before that company was bought by GE in 2010. It employs about 300 people. So far, company officials have refused to confirm or deny the closing.
Pineville Police report 48 year old Tyrone Teasley was arrested Wednesday after he walked into a classroom at Louisiana College and started teaching a class. Problem was, Teasley was neither a teacher or a student at the private school. Teasley was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing and disturbing the peace. He was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center.
Finally some good news relating to the Rapides Parish Coliseum. Police Jury President Richard Billings announced yesterday a proposed agreement between the Police Jury and the city of Alexandria over jointly owned property needed for Coliseum parking could be finalized as early as next week. The Police Jury canceled a special meeting that had been set for Thursday morning on a proposed intergovernmental agreement with the city of Alexandria on the parking lot issue. Word is, the agreement needed some tweaking. Billings is hopeful the agreement will be ready soon.
An Alexandria police officer who has been under investigation has resigned, according to Chief Loren Lampert. Two investigations into possible misconduct by the unidentified ex-officer were turned over to the Rapides Parish District Attorney’s Office in late December for grand jury consideration. A new grand jury was expected to be empaneled late this month. The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office started an investigation after receiving a complaint about possible misconduct by the officer while he was off duty and outside of the city. The Alexandria Police Department started its own investigation after being notified of the allegation.
Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson announces ownership of both teams will transfer to his wife, Gayle, upon his death. This move effectively cuts out Benson’s daughter, Renee, and grandchildren, Ryan Leblanc and Rita Benson Leblanc, from the sports franchises. Benson stated that this change in succession is necessary for the long-term success of both teams. Shortly after the announcement, Benson’s former heir filed a law suit claiming her grandfather is incapacitated. Rita Benson LeBlanc, her mother Renee Benson and brother Ryan LeBlanc filed the petition in Orleans Civil District Court. The suit also alleges that Tom Benson’s wife, Gayle, is trying to take advantage of her husband’s unfit mental state and is only after his money.
Republican supporters of Governor Bobby Jindal establish a super PAC that could assist him in a presidential bid. Former Louisiana Congressman, Bob Livingston, is the chairman of the political action committee, called Believe Again PAC. Livingston acknowledges this is the first step in a possible run for the White House. The Super PAC can raise an unlimited amount of money, but Jindal can’t direct or coordinate how the money is spent.
The Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Department has arrested a 24-year-old woman in the May 2014 death of her fiancé’s 3-year-old son. After an eight month investigation, Brittany Marie Prejean of Rayne is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Keaghyn Parsons. Prejean was caring for the toddler the day of his death. An autopsy performed on the child showed he died of blunt trauma. The Calcasieu Parish Coroner ruled his death a homicide.
The New Orleans City Council Thursday approved a smoking ban at bars and casinos by a 7-0 vote. This is a big win for supporters who say it’s a public health issue for workers and patrons of these establishments. Tonia Moore is with the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco Free Living. She says they are thrilled this initiative had so much support. The opposition was mostly from business owners who were worried such a smoking ban would threaten revenue. Moore says they hope to see many other municipalities in Louisiana follow suit.
This weekend, the Mystick Krewe of Louisiana will be hosting the DC Mardi Gras in our nation’s capital. A reported 3,000 Louisiana will fly in for the festivities at the Washington Hilton.
The woman who has assisted law enforcement locally and nationally in identifying human remains, Mary Manhein, announces she is retiring from the LSU FACES Laboratory after more than 30 years. Also known as “The Bone Lady,” Manhein has consulted on hundreds of forensic cases including mass disasters. Manhein says her last day is April 30th and she’ll then turn over the reins of the program to another generation.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is offering a $10,000 reward for information about the whooping crane that was shot in Vermilion Parish then later died late last year. Spokesman Adam Einck says the reward money is coming from several sources. Einck says the whooping crane is one of the world’s most endangered birds and they want to make it clear that there are serious repercussions from killing one. He says this is now the 6th bird that has been shot and killed in Louisiana. Anyone with information on this case can report it online at wlf.louisiana.gov.
College baseball teams can begin full squad workouts today and for the LSU Tigers they enter the season ranked ninth in the country according to Division One-Baseball-dot-com.