News for Friday 010816
By Dave Graichen
Cleco announced starting today they will be forced to disconnect electric meters and cut power to 64 customers in the Open Bayou and Woodson Landing areas because of flooding. The company says in addition to five customers already cut off in the Echo area. Other areas may soon follow. The utility says they will try to notify customers before power is cut. Power will remain off until the water recedes.
Governor-elect John Bel Edwards and Louisiana’s future First Lady, Donna Edwards, announce that legendary Voice of the Tigers Jim Hawthorne will be the Master of Ceremonies for the Inaugural Celebration on Monday. Edwards will take the oath of office on the steps of the Louisiana Capitol at noon. About 11,000 invitations have gone out for the ceremony, and it is also open to the public. Events begin at 11:30.
The National Guard has been mobilized to help out communities throughout the state who face the threat of Mississippi River flooding as near record crests are expected. 24 hour levee inspections will begin today in Concordia, East Carroll, Madison and Tensas Parishes. The Morganza Spillway will be opened on Monday in an effort to contain the rising waters of the Mississippi River. That water will be diverted into the into the Atchafalaya Basin. But, not without risks. Officials warn, with the opening of the spillway, there is the potential risk of flooding from Butte La Rose down to Morgan City.
For a second straight year, Louisiana’s public schools rank 49th in the nation in academic achievement. That’s according to Education Week Magazine, who has unveiled its Quality Counts report. Education Week Research Center director Holly Yetcick (Yet-ick) says Louisiana scored a 69 out of 100 for classroom performance, which is just above a passing grade. She says slight improvements were seen with fourth graders and their reading ability.
By now I am sure you heard nobody hit the more than $500 million dollar Powerball jackpot Wednesday night. Bu, there are two new Louisiana millionaires. A ticket from New Roads matched 5 for $1 million dollars and so did a ticket sold in New Iberia. The Louisiana Lottery says you can expect more winners this weekend as the estimated jackpot for Saturday tops $700 million dollars. That’s an all-time record..
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin had his 2014 corruption charges appeal rejected in federal court. Nagin argued the judge gave the jury faulty instructions when he was convicted on charges including wire fraud, bribery and money laundering. The 5th Circuit US Court of Appeals said they found no errors were made.
A new law is in effect in Louisiana that cracks down on marriage fraud, especially in cases where illegal immigrants attempt to fraudulently gain US citizenship. Denham Springs State Representative Valarie Hodges, who sponsored the measure, says state marriage licenses haven’t been updated for about 40 years. She says these changes protect the institution of marriage.
The Attorney General’s office is not happy that the town of Springfield in Livingston Parish re-hired Jimmy Jones as its police chief after he pled guility to misdemeanor criminal mischief last year. Prosecutor David Caldwell calls it a dumb idea, but Town Attorney Brian Abels says the community has faith Jones will do a good job as police chief. Jones started work as the town’s police chief this week.
The man suspected of stabbing LSU tight end Dillon Gordon during a bar fight earlier this week has been arrested. Twenty-year-old Jamal Joseph Vaughn of Gonzales has been charged with aggravated second-degree battery. Gordon’s injuries were non-life threatening.
The red snapper fishing season opens today and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has extended the limit from three to nine miles offshore for recreational fishing.
Bobby Jindal’s two terms as governor ends on Monday as Governor-elect John Bel Edwards is sworn in. U-L-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says Jindal came into office as a bright young man with the promise of making Louisiana a better state. He says the soon to be ex-governor had early success in ethics and education. Cross says budget problems led to deep cuts to higher education during his two terms, which is how many will remember him.