News For Friday 082815
By Dave Graichen
The St. Landry Parish town of Sunset is mourning the loss of Police Officer Henry Nelson. Thirty-five year-old Harrison Lee Riley is accused of shooting and killing Nelson Wednesday while responding to a domestic disturbance. Riley faces charges of first degree murder of a police officer, first degree murder and attempted first degree murder. In a bizarre twist, it is now reported the shooter was the cousin of the dead police officer.
Visitation is today for fallen State Police Trooper Steven Vincent, who was killed in the line of duty earlier this week. Due to tremendous support, the location of the visitation has been moved to the Lake Charles Civic Center Rosa Heart Theater. The funeral service will take place Saturday at noon at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in Lake Charles.
Former President George W. Bush visits New Orleans today to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Many people are reflecting back to 10 years ago when Hurricane Katrina descended on the Gulf Coast and caused catastrophic widespread damage. Families throughout the New Orleans area were displaced and people all over the state were opening their doors to evacuees. Our Governor during that time, Kathleen Blanco, says the unbelievable recovery in the last decade shows the resiliency and determination of Louisianians. The immediate response efforts to the disaster by federal, state and local governments is widely criticized. Blanco says following Katrina and Rita she instructed her staff to rewrite the disaster response. She believes Louisiana now leads the nation in knowing what to do before, during and after storms.
The director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says the state is in a better position to respond to a Hurricane Katrina like event. GOHSEP director Kevin Davis says one of the biggest advancements is a better relationship between the state and FEMA. Where to shelter evacuees was a huge issue during Katrina. Davis says since then they have identified enough shelter to house individuals here in Louisiana, if there’s a need to evacuate the New Orleans area.
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture says its new mobile pet shelter is ready for use. Commissioner Mike Strain says the tractor trailer can be used to evacuate up 55 domesticated animals in the event of an emergency. Those animals will then be transported to one of the state’s Jumbo pet shelters. Strain says 40-thousand of the 80-thousand dollars needed to complete the project was donated by veterinary foundations.
Pamela Causey-Fregia was allowed to change her plea Thursday to not guilty by reason of insanity, but a judge wants more information before appointing a sanity commission in her case. The 32 year old Oakdale woman is charged with first degree murder and first degree feticide in the death of 22 year old Victoria Perez of Lecompte back in 2011.
Most of the public boat ramps on the Red River have reopened after repairs and cleaning from flooding, according to the Red River Waterway Commission. The open ramps include those in Natchitoches, Grant, Rapides and Avoyelles parishes. The Alexandria Levee Park ramp remains closed because it was one with heavier damage, according to the commission. Crews are working at the ramp, and it is projected to reopen soon.
Gas prices dropped two pennies from the day before. The current statewide average for a gallon of regular is $2.22. That’s almost a dime less from the same time last week.
Thursday Morning’s low temperature of 60 degrees was a record low for Aug. 27 in Alexandria.
It marked the second day in a row of a record low temperature, with Wednesday's low of 57 setting a record for Aug. 26. Today was no record breaker. That record of 56 was set back in 1896. Forecasters say we can expect to see a slow warmup over the next few days.
The Baton Rouge Coroner’s Office and Capital Area Human Services are teaming up to raise awareness about the growing heroin and synthetic marijuana problem in the area. Coroner Dr. Beau Clark says his office has already seen 24 heroin overdose deaths so far this year. He says at this rate, East Baton Rouge Parish could surpass the record of 35 heroin overdose deaths recorded in 2013.
After losing its NBC billing and seeing its viewership plummet to an all-time low, the organization that puts on Miss USA lost $75,000 Thursday that Visit Baton Rouge had initially offered to lure the pageant back to the Capital City. Miss USA has now lost around $100,000 in incentive payments between Visit Baton Rouge and the state’s Office of Tourism both cutting back their promised incentive payments to the pageant. Controversial comments from Miss USA/Miss Universe owner Donald Trump caused several celebrity hosts, judges, performers and sponsors to cut ties with the organization just days before the pageant was set to broadcast live in July from Baton Rouge.