News For Friday 012216
By Dave Graichen
Make sure you grab a coat before leaving the house today as the temperatures are much colder than what we experienced yesterday. State Climatologist Barry Keim says a strong cold front has brought us some of the coldest temperatures of the winter. Keim says to expect the maximum temperature statewide today to be in the 40s, with the warmest part of the day in the morning. Along with the cold temps, strong winds are forecasted across the state.
South Louisiana serial killer Derrick Todd Lee has died, according to the state Department of Corrections. Lee was 47. He was convicted in the murders of two women and suspected in the brutal slayings of at least five other women. Lee was sentenced to death in 2004 and had been at Angola since. Multiple sources reported this week that Lee was suffering complications with a pace maker.
The mother of the victim in the case that put Derrick Todd Lee on death row says the world is a better place now that the serial killer is dead. Lee died at the age of 47 in a Baton Rouge hospital on Thursday. Ann Pace said on a Baton Rouge Talk Show that Lee got off far easier than her daughter, Charlotte Murray Pace, and the, at least, 6 other victims. Charlotte Murray Pace was just 22 when Lee stabbed her 81 times and bludgeoned her with an iron at her Baton Rouge home in 2002.
Governor John Bel Edwards has proposed raising some taxes in efforts to help with the state’s fiscal issues. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross believes lawmakers might approve these tax hikes but it depends on what they are and who the taxes impact.
Cross says Governor Edwards has made many proposals for raising revenue and will likely continue to make the point that Louisiana is in dire budget straights. Cross says he doesn’t expect much push back from legislators right now given the dismal budget situation the state faces.
The LSU Professor who was fired for allegedly creating a hostile learning environment by cussing and making sex jokes says she’s suing the university. Teresa Buchanan feels she was wrongfully fired for what she calls “expressing academic freedom.” She says it’s a professor’s job to stimulate students thinking and to get them to question assumptions
LSU says it will defend students’ rights to a harassment-free learning environment.
Higher education leaders from across the state met with Governor John Bel Edwards to plead their case against further cuts as Louisiana deals with a massive budget deficit. The state is facing an estimated $750 million dollar mid-year budget shortfall. In the past eight years, higher ed has been cut more than $700 million. State Commissioner of Higher Education, Joe Rallo, says Governor Edwards assured them that if there are cuts to higher ed, they would be part of sweeping budget cuts across the board.
A Ponchatoula man has been sentenced to 27 years in prison for having what federal authorities have called one of the largest collections of child pornography ever discovered in Louisiana. Authorities say 53-year-old Robert Swan had at least 15 devices in his home containing over 500,000 sexually explicit pictures and videos of children. Swan pleaded guilty in December 2014.
Mackenzie Bourg of Lafayette is going to Hollywood after advancing on American Idol. The 23-year-old received three yes votes from judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. Mackenzie also made a name for himself in 2012 for his stellar performances on The Voice.
In an effort to reduce motorcycle fatalities and injuries, Louisiana State Police is getting the word out about a motorcycle training program that’s offered at 10 different locations around the state. Trooper Bryan Lee says this training course helps to build mental and physical skills to safely operate a motorcycle. During 2015 there were nearly two thousand motorcycle related crashes across Louisiana and 80 resulted in death. Lee says they have courses available for basic, intermediate and experienced riders.
After losing on the road to Texas A-and-M on Tuesday night, the LSU men’s basketball team looks for a road win tomorrow against Alabama. 2004 was the last time the Tigers went into Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa and came away with a victory. LSU enters league play with a 4-2 record, while Alabama is 1-4 in the SEC.
LSU has added another four-star prospect to its 2016 football recruiting class. John Curtis offensive lineman Willie Allen announced his decision this morning to attend LSU. He’s listed at six-foot-seven, 300 pounds. ESPN has him as the second ranked prospect at his position and 16th overall. Allen also visited Georgia and TCU.