News for Tuesday 112415
By Dave Graichen
The Curtis-Coleman Bridge over the Red River will be closed between 8 a.m. and noon today, according to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. The bridge on U.S. highways 71 and 165 will be closed for the demolition of concrete piers on the old O.K. Allen Bridge. The closure was moved to today from Monday. Also, all traffic on the Red River will be shut down both 30 minutes before and after the demolition.
Governor-elect John Bel Edwards names state senator Ben Nevers of Boglausa as his chief of staff when he takes office on January 11th. In his first address since winning election, Edwards told teachers Monday that he entered the race because he wanted to improve education, but his first focus will be on the state budget. He told the annual convention of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers that he wouldn’t ban vouchers and wouldn’t close charter schools as his election opponents repeatedly claimed during the campaign. But he would insist on greater accountability of charter schools.
Lake Charles business owner Laura Leach, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand, Baton Rouge senator Sharon Weston Broome, former legislator Taylor Townsend and Baton Rouge businessman Richard Lipsey are also on the Governor Elect’s transition team.
US Representative John Fleming of Minden has joined fellow Republican Louisiana Congressman Charles Boustany in letting voters know that he plans to run for US Senate next year. Boustany, state treasurer John Kennedy and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle are other candidates could run for Vitter’s seat as the former gubernatorial candidate has announced he’s not seeking re-election in 2016.
Lt. Gov.-elect Billy Nungesser visited his soon-to-be state offices Monday, assuring employees they would still have a job after his January inauguration if they wanted it.
Nungesser said he may bring a couple of people who worked in his campaign to Baton Rouge, but he says he’s not in a hurry to make any decisions.
With rumors swirling that LSU’s Les Miles will be fired at the end of the regular season, the head coach addressed the situation at his weekly Monday news conference. Miles says his focus is not on his job status, but on the players and coaches and getting them ready to play Texas A-and-M on Saturday night. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says Miles’ 15 million dollar buyout isn’t much of a determining factor because those who want him gone are willing to front that money.
When the state legislature reconvenes for a new term there will be two more republicans in the House, bringing the total to 61 GOP members in the lower chamber. Democrats picked up a seat in the Senate, dropping the number of republicans to 25.
New Orleans Police announce the arrest of the suspect wanted in the Friday shooting of a Tulane medical student. Video surveillance shows 25-year-old Peter Gold trying to help a woman who was apparently being mugged by 21-year-old Euric Cain. Cain pulled a gun on Gold and shot him in the abdomen. Cain then pointed the gun at Gold’s head and pulled the trigger, but the gun jammed. Cain is charged with attempted first degree murder, second degree kidnapping, and armed robbery.
Not many tips are coming in after the shooting at Bunny Friend Playground that left 17 people injured in front of about 500 people. Mayor Mitch Landrieu says this was an act of domestic terrorism. He says there were a lot of onlookers recording on their cell phones and isn’t sure why more people haven’t come forward with information.
Bossier Parish authorities are investigating why a mother fatally shot her son and injured another woman while driving down Interstate 20. Bossier Parish officials say 47-year-old Dora Blake of Minden took out a handgun and shot the two people in the front. Blake, who was highly intoxicated, was booked into Bossier Maximum Security Facility on a one million dollar bond.
The two men arrested in Florida for the killing of a Baton Rouge couple, whose bodies were found at a Hammond truck stop last month, are expected to be transported back to Louisiana in the coming days. A Broward County, Florida State’s Attorney spokesperson says arrangements are being made to extradite both Frank Garcia and Ernesto Alonso to face murder charges in the deaths of Denis and Suzanne Duplantier. Alonso stopped resisting his extradition last week. Garcia waived extradition yesterday.
For the fourth year in a row, the cost for a traditional Thanksgiving meal has increased. The LSU AgCenter surveyed Baton Rouge retailers and found the cost of items to prepare a meal for 10 was $49.81, a $1.31 increase from last year. Economist Kurt Guidry says a rise in turkey prices led to this year’s price increase. He says, on the wholesale level, the price of turkey is up 9-percent from a year ago.
According to a recent poll, a record number of people plan to shop local for Small Business Saturday. Dawn Starns, the Louisiana state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, says this is so encouraging because this is the time of year where small businesses are in competition with big name stores. She says shoppers are often looking for unique gifts and items and that’s where your small business retailer comes in handy. Starns encourages shoppers to keep local stores in mind this holiday season, because says the money spent at a small retailer goes right back into the local economy.