News for Friday 31816
By Dave Graichen
As more rain is expected today, could that cause a problem with more flooding? State Climatologist Barry Keim says it shouldn’t contribute to more river basin flooding, but it could slow down the recovery process. Keim says a stationary front has locked in across the state and isn’t likely to clear until Sunday. He says all parts of Louisiana will receive rain but southeast Louisiana is expected to get the most today at about one to two inches.
Just when you think it can’t get worse, several Central Louisiana parishes were hit with severe weather yesterday afternoon. In Grant Parish, there were reports of a possible tornado in Colfax. Grant Parish Sheriff Steven McCain said it does not appear to have touched down, but that heavy winds left damage to several places just starting to recover from flooding. According to McCain, there are trees and powerlines down everywhere.
Twenty-six parishes impacted by the flooding are now eligible for federal assistance from FEMA. Governor John Bel Edwards says the list of parishes to receive federal aid keeps growing. Edwards says they are looking at 11 additional parishes to see if they met the threshold for FEMA assistance. FEMA Director Craig Fugate says they will be here as long as it takes. He encourages people to register for federal aid by going to DisasterAssistance-dot-gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA.
The Department of Children and Family Services is asking flood victims to pre-register for disaster food stamps. Distribution begins next week in 23 parishes that were declared federal disaster areas as a result of the catastrophic flooding. Deputy Assistant Secretary of DCFS, Sammy Guillory, says people can pre-register online. www.dcfs.la.gov/dsnap Guillory says individuals who pre-registered can go to one of the sites in the affected parishes to get their cards. He says the benefits should be available rather quickly.
Texas Transportation officials say I-10 heading into Texas will remain closed through the weekend and may not re-open until late Monday afternoon. Flood waters from the Sabine River continue to cover the heavily used interstate. US 190 is one option for Louisiana motorists to get into Texas.
An LSU Public Policy Research lab survey finds 63 percent of Louisianans believe the state is heading in the wrong direction. This is the most on record since the survey began tracking opinions in 2003. Director Dr. Michael Henderson says Louisianans are likely displeased because of a mix of politics and the recent struggles with the massive budget deficit. Henderson says for many years people believed the economy and education were the most important problems in the state, now it’s the budget.
Forty-three percent of Louisiana voters have a positive view of the governor, according to a new poll from the University of New Orleans. That’s compared to a 34% favorability just three weeks ago. UNO pollster Ed Chervanek says the poll also shows that nearly half of Louisiana residents blame former-Governor Bobby Jindal for the state’s budget crisis. The legislature has a much lower approval rating, receiving only a 15% favorability rating. Twenty-four percent of respondents blame the legislature for the budget deficit.
A proposed constitutional amendment that asks voters if convicted felons should be allowed to run for state or local office for 15 years after completion of their sentence is making its way through the legislative process. The author of the measure, Norco Representative Gregory Miller, says it’s similar to a constitutional provision that was recently thrown out by the state Supreme Court. The state’s highest court removed the former constitutional amendment on this subject, because the language on the ballot was not the same as what the legislature approved in 1998.
A proposed bill for the current regular legislative session would allow pet owners to have their deceased pets buried alongside them in a human graveyard. Author of the legislation, Metairie Senator Conrad Appel, says currently it’s illegal in Louisiana. He says he was approached by a veterinarian who suggested creating a law because many people have strong connections with their cats and dogs.
The sixth ranked LSU baseball team begins SEC play tonight against Alabama. Coach Paul Mainieri has made a change to his weekend rotation. Last year’s national freshman of the year, Alex Lange, has been starting the second game of the three-game sets, but tonight he’ll get the ball to start the series and he’s looking forward to it…