News for Monday 010416
By Dave Graichen
It was announced last week that Louisiana is facing a $750 million deficit this fiscal year and another $1.9 billion next fiscal year. Many wonder if lawmakers can make up this shortfall without raising taxes. Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin says it seems almost inevitable that the legislature will have to raise some new revenues. He says lawmakers have a lot of options when it comes to raising revenues, like raising the sales, income, gasoline, and “sin” taxes. Erwin says the legislature should take a broad-based approach in finding a permanent solution to the budget problems.
One week from today, Democrat John Bel Edwards will be sworn in as the state’s next governor. Since the election, Edwards has been appointing officials to serve in his administration. The governor-elect’s deputy chief of staff, Julie Baxter Payer, says the new administration plans to keep an open dialogue with the public when it comes to the harsh realities the state faces with its budget situation. Incoming Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne has pegged the shortfall for this fiscal year at 750-million dollars and one-point-nine billion dollars next fiscal year. Payer says they’ll seek the public’s help in solving these budget issues.
US oil prices fell 30-percent in 2015, so what could we expect in 2016? David Dismukes is the executive director at LSU’s Center for Energy Studies and he says there needs to be an increase in demand for oil for prices to go back up, but he doesn’t see that happening anytime soon. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, a barrel of oil is going for 37-dollars a far cry from 2014 when oil was trading for 100-dollars a barrel.
The Corps of Engineers is scheduled to begin emergency operations on the Mississippi River as river levels are expected to crest later this month at a historically high level for the winter months at Vicksburg and Natchez.
State Police report a two vehicle crash here in Rapides Parish has claimed the life of 21-year-old Kristi Mayfield of Lecompte. Troopers say Mayfield collided with the rear of a tractor trailer. Mayfield was taken to a local hospital where she succumbed to her injuries. The driver of the 18-wheeler was uninjured. The investigation is currently ongoing.
The Smoking Cessation Trust is offering Louisiana smokers tips to help them quit in 2016. Spokesperson Jim Pittman says any resident that started smoking before September 1, 1988 is eligible for free programs and services, including cessation medication, nicotine replacement therapy, and counseling. Pittman advises smokers to chat with their doctor about nicotine replacement therapy or a prescription medication to stop.
The Kenner Police Department says a woman was injured after a man fired a gun in celebration of the new year. They say 26-year-old Brandon Smith fired the gun toward an empty parking lot early Friday morning when one shot bounced off a metal pole and struck a 40-year-old woman who was getting out of a car. The unidentified victim was transported to an area hospital where she was treated for her injury and released. Smith faces charges of aggravated battery, negligent injury, and illegal discharge of a firearm.
Hoverboards were among the most popular gifts this holiday season, but LSU students who received one are urged to leave them at home when they return to campus from the winter break. The school has issued a temporary ban on hoverboards on campus due to safety risks. There have been several reports of hoverboard batteries bursting into flame, especially while they are being charged. LSU says the ban will stay in place until safety standards for all hoverboards are implemented.
Residents and visitors to the Big Easy will have to pay more to park on some busy New Orleans streets in the new year. In some high traffic areas, including the French Quarter and Central Business District, parking meter rates will double from $1.50 an hour to $3 an hour. In other areas of the city, the rate will increase to $2 an hour. Enforcement hours will also be extended an hour to 7PM. The changes take effect January 11.
A lot of people are making New Year’s resolutions to live a healthier lifestyle in 2016 but that’s often easier said than done. LSU Health New Orleans Clinical Psychologist Dr. Michelle Moore
says many people have good intentions to live a better lifestyle at the start of the New Year but often fall off by the end of January. She says giving yourself a plan and building on it every month will help you to keep up with your resolution. Moore says not to make dramatic resolutions right off the bat because they are hard to keep. She says make sure you shoot for an obtainable goal.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office has arrested a man accused of fatally stabbing his 14-year-old nephew and injuring another nephew and his own elderly mother. Information is limited, but authorities believe 58-year-old Tyrone Dorsey stabbed all three during during some sort of altercation. The victims were transported to a local hospital, where the 14-year-old died from his injuries. The 21-year-old male and 79-year-old female suffered non-life threatening injuries. Police have yet to determine a motive for the stabbings.
Less than 72 hours after Kevin Steele announced he was leaving Baton Rouge to take the defensive coordinator position at Auburn, LSU announces Wisconsin’s Dave Arnada as the Tigers’ new defensive coordinator. Under Arnada, the Badger defense ranks in the top seven nationally in five major defensive categories. In a bit of irony, LSU opens their 2016 football season against Wisconsin.
In what might have been the final game of the Sean Payton era, the Saints defeated the Falcons 20-17. Payton says it was a gutsy win for his banged-up team. The win gives the Saints a 7-9 record for the 2015 season and they end the year on a two-game winning streak.