News for Thursday 010716
By Dave Graichen
The Town Talk reports that Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy is considering a run for the US senate seat soon to be vacated by David Vitter. Also considering a run for the Senate seat is state Rep. Robert Johnson, D-Marksville. He was recently re-elected to a third term representing House District 28. The Senate primary election will be held Nov. 8, the same day as the presidential election, and the runoff, if needed, would be Dec.
Cleco is warning customers that fraudulent callers claiming to be from Cleco are demanding bill payment with the threat of power disconnection. Cleco officials say that is something they never do. Cleco is working with law enforcement officials, but it suggests that customers hang up the phone if they are in doubt when receiving calls regarding unpaid balances.
A 16-year-old Natchitoches Central High School has been hospitalized with bleeding in his brain after a fight on the school’s parking lot on Tuesday, which led to the arrest of an 18-year-old Natchitoches resident. The Natchitoches Police Department said the victim was transferred from Natchitoches Regional Medical Center to Rapides Regional Medical Center, “where his current condition is unknown,”
RPSO Deputies stopped a car Tuesday afternoon after the observed the driver not wearing a seatbelt. Inside they found a driver with no license, four small, unrestrained children and four sealed bags of marijuana, a street value of about $1,500. Arrested were 29-year-old Devon Ray Jones and a passenger 26-year-old Guy Marcus Baty of Alexandria. Both men received multiple charges.
Trial dates have been set for the two deputy Marksville city marshals charged with the shooting death of a 6-year-old boy. 32-year-old Derrick Stafford and 24-year-old Norris Greenhouse entered pleas of not guilty and will be tried separately in the death of Jeremy Mardis. Stafford’s trial is set to begin September 26th, while Greenhouse’s trial will start November 28th.
Sean Payton is remaining as the head coach of the Saints, despite weeks of speculation that he may want to coach for another NFL team. Payton spoke with reporters for about an hour talking about his love for the fans, the franchise and the city, despite all of its faults. Payton still has two years left on his current deal and said any talk of a contract extension will take care of itself. Payton also said he hopes Drew Brees is his quarterback in New Orleans for many years to come. Brees has one year left on his current contract.
Governor-elect John Bel Edwards reappoints Jimmy LeBlanc as secretary of corrections. LeBlanc says he and Edwards are on the same page when it comes to reducing Louisiana’s prison population and progress has been made. LeBlanc is the lone cabinet secretary holdover from the Jindal Administration.
Governor Jindal announced he’s granted clemency for 21 people who have been convicted of crimes. That brings the total number of pardons during his two terms to 83, which is well below the hundreds granted by former governors Kathleen Blanco and Mike Foster.
According to a personal finance site, Ruston is one of the top 10 cities out of about 2500 nationwide, with the least sustainable credit card debt. CardHub determined that the average credit card debt for a Ruston resident is $5,323. They say it would take 173 months for that debt to be paid off, at a cost of $7,138. Dr. Bill McCumber, finance professor at Louisiana Tech, says several cities on CardHub’s least sustainable credit card debt list are college towns, like Ruston. McCumber says most students are without jobs and use plastic more to pay for things with the idea they’ll get full time employment once they graduate.
A Crowley man is under arrest for allegedly killing his girlfriend then trying to burn her body then her home. The Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office charged 33-year-old Nicholas Dupuis with first degree murder and arson. Deputy Chief Fire Marshal Brant Thompson says 22-year-old Kantarise Lazaro of Church point told authorities he followed Dupuis to a location where they tried to burn the body. He says there are three crime scenes, one where the victim was shot, one where she was burned and the other where her home was set ablaze.
A now former police officer in Plaqumine has been arrested by the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office for allegedly attacking and kidnapping his estranged wife. Authorities says the victim claimed 28-year-old Justin Bush took her against her will over the weekend and assaulted her. Deputies believed there was enough evidence to arrest Bush for aggravated kidnapping, battery assault and malfeasance. He was fired from his job.
Governor-elect John Bel Edwards takes office on Monday and two former governors have some advice. Democrat Kathleen Blanco, who was governor of Louisiana from 2004 to 2008, says Edwards has a tough road ahead with all of the budget issues and dealing with legislators over the state’s finances is not easy. Blanco says every new governor is tested when they first enter office. She says it remains to be seen how the governor handles those pressures with the legislature. Former Republican governor Mike Foster says he had some rules to live by while in office and advises governor-elect Edwards to tell his staff to forget politics. He says to do what you think is the best for the state of Louisiana.
Small businesses in Louisiana aren’t too optimistic about 2016. Dawn Starns, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, says owners haven’t changed their negative outlook in quite some time. She says things were more upbeat a couple of years ago, but now businesses have much lower expectations. Starns feels many Louisiana businesses are in “wait and see” mode with a brand new administration beginning Monday. She says before owners start to make decisions about whether to expand, build or bring on new staff, they’ll be waiting to see how Governor-elect John Bel Edwards plans to fix the state’s fiscal mess.