News for Tuesday 070715
By Dave Graichen
The announcement of Army cuts that could significantly affect Fort Polk and the surrounding communities is expected Thursday. Army officials are under a mandate to cut at least 40,000 troops and other personnel. If the brigade stationed at Fort Polk is eliminated, the base would lose more than half its military population, which stakeholders say would have a significant impact on the Central Louisiana economy and a devastating impact on Vernon Parish.
An annual statewide survey from LSU finds that consumer confidence has fallen below the national average for the first time in recent years. Michael Henderson, research director of the LSU Public Policy Research Lab, says the Louisiana Consumer Sentiment Index fell by six points from the end of the third quarter of 2014 to the end of the first quarter this year. He says the main culprit is the drop in oil prices.
Governor Bobby Jindal signed into law a bill that allows gun safety education to be taught in elementary public schools. The measure lets Louisiana’s schools provide age appropriate classroom instruction regarding firearm accident prevention and safety. Author of the legislation, Erath Rep. Blake Miguez, says the Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Programs is like teaching kids “stop, drop, and roll” when on fire. The material, which can start being taught this fall, must be integrated into an existing course of study and specify that the purpose of the instruction is to promote protecting children.
Same-sex couples who want to change their last name on their driver’s license to reflect the same name as their spouse can do so starting today. State Police Lieutenant JB Slaton says the Office of Motor Vehicles had to upgrade their computers. Slaton says couples who wish to change their name, must bring a certified marriage license, along with social security records.
State Police and the Office of Motor Vehicles are getting the word out that you can renew your driver’s license every six years instead of four. Lt. JB Slaton says it will cost an additional four dollars for the extra two years, but hopefully it will lead to shorter lines at the DMV, with drivers having to go less often to renew their license.
The State Department of Agriculture has been put in charge of establishing the regulations for the legal dispensing of medical marijuana and Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says one of the big questions is how much they will need. The legislature has said medical marijuana will only be available to those suffering from glaucoma, cancer and a severe form of cerebral palsy. Strain says they also have questions on the development of the seed that will be used for medical marijuana. Strain says they will have an estimate of when the product will be completed once the production facility is built and when the volume of marijuana is decided.
An agreement between the United States and Iran over that country’s nuclear program will likely lead to another downturn in oil prices. That’s according to the Executive Director of LSU’s Center for Energy Studies. who says a nuclear deal will result in Iran putting billions of barrels of its oil on the market. The market is already reacting to a possible deal as oil prices fell eight-percent yesterday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
If Louisiana Senator David Vitter is successful in his bid for governor, Lafayette Representative Charles Boustany says he is prepping a campaign to seek Vitter’s seat. The National Journal reports Boustany has hired an experienced Senate Campaign manager, and has told supporters quote-”you cannot wait to make your plans.”
A 14-year-old was arrested in Bossier City after detectives discovered the juvenile could be responsible for the stabbing death of a 91-year-old woman he was believed to be robbing. The teen was charged with first degree murder in the death of Ludella Scott and was transferred to the Wade Juvenile Detention Center.
A 36-year-old man faces vehicular homicide charges after the utility terrain vehicle he was driving flipped over and killed a 12-year-old passenger. The incident happened in St. Helena Parish on July fourth.
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating an apparent accidental shooting which claimed the life of an unidentified woman. Cops say they were told by the victim’s estranged husband that the two were handling a firearm when it discharged by mistake and struck the woman. She was dead when deputies arrived. The investigation is ongoing.