News for Tuesday 032916
By Dave Graichen
The Louisiana Public Service Commission approved the sale of Cleco Corporation Monday, clearing the way for the Pineville-based utility to move from public to private hands.
The 4-1 vote capped a year-and-a-half process reversing the commission’s ruling last month, when it rejected the sale. Commissioner Clyde Holloway, the lone dissenting vote.
Drilling activity has hit an all-time low in Louisiana. That’s according to Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association. Briggs says 25 rigs are running in the Gulf of Mexico and only five are in operation on land in south Louisiana. With oil trading at around 40-dollars a barrel, there’ s not much hope that rig activity will pick up in the near future. Briggs says this could lead to more layoffs and businesses in the oil and gas industry shutting down.
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is threatening a lawsuit involving Louisiana’s Presidential Primary. Trump is upset he won the primary here, but could get less delegates than opponent Ted Cruz. State GOP executive director Jason Dore says Trump & Cruz each have 18 delegates, but there are 10 delegates still uncommitted, which could result in Cruz winning the delegate vote. Dore says they’ve followed the rules when it comes to allocating the delegates.
Vernon parish authorities have are holding a Leesville man on $1 million bond in connection with the death of his brother. Deputies responded to a call about an unresponsive man at a home Saturday and found 38-year-old Terry Dubois lying on a floor and family members performing CPR. Deputies say Terry Dubois had gotten into an argument with his younger brother, Christopher Dubois. During the altercation, it is believed that Terry Dubois fell and hit his head causing him to lose consciousness. He died a short time later.
Four more parishes have been added to the Presidential Disaster Declaration area, which means victims of the historic flooding are eligible for federal assistance. One of those parishes is Rapides and their homeland security director Sonya Wiley-Gremillion says 60 homes were flooded along the Red River. The other three parishes added to the major disaster declaration are Jackson, Red River and Sabine parishes, bringing the total number of parishes eligible for federal assistance to 30. Gremillion says many of their flood victims still have not begun the clean-up process… Four pumps are being installed to accelerate water removal from Bayou Rigolette and affected communities in Pineville.
A report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finds Medicaid expansion will improve mental healthcare in Louisiana. Director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services Vikki Wachino says in states where Medicaid was expanded, there was an increase in residents receiving regular preventive care and a decrease in patients skipping medications because of costs. The report says 81-thousand Louisianans who suffer from mental illnesses or substance abuse would likely qualify for Medicaid after the expansion.
Hollywood South has taken a major hit over the past year since the legislature passed a measure that puts a cap on Louisiana’s film tax incentives. That’s according to Celtic Media Centre Executive Director Patrick Mulhearn. He says what’s scaring films away is the manner in which lawmakers capped the movie credits. Mulhearn says film executives are choosing to spend their money in states & nations where they know for sure obligations will be honored. He says the biggest film union in Louisiana reports that only 37% of their members are employed right now. Those who support the film industry tax program cap say the tax credits were costing the state more than what it’s worth.
A fourth person has died in an ATV accident at Muddy Bottoms Park since it opened nearly two years ago. Webster Parish Sheriff chief deputy Bobby Igo says the latest victim is 40-year-old Alissa Wiley of Dry Prong Igo says no charges have been filed a this time. Muddy Bottoms issued a statement saying they cooperating with law enforcement and their hearts and prayer’s go out to the victim’s family.
6 children in Baton Rouge were arrested for allegedly shooting a 44-year-old man multiple times, by more than one child with a BB gun. Police say the victim had to be taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, in the act that appeared completely random. The juveniles were each booked on a count of aggravated second-degree battery and later released to their parents.
The Food and Drug Administration is delaying enforcing rules to require chain-restaurants to post a calorie content on their menu until 2017. Pennington Biomedical Research Center Professor Dr. Catherine Champagne understands the challenges restaurants face in posting calorie information on their menu, but it would greatly benefit those who watch their calorie intake. Champagne believes though adding the calorie content of food to menus will be beneficial for all people who care about what they eat.
The LSU men’s basketball program has lost another player to the NBA draft. Point guard Tim Quarterman is forgoing his final season of eligiblity after averaging 11 points, five rebounds and four assists in what was an up-and-down 2015-16 season. Quarterman joins Ben Simmons as two Tigers who have withdrawn from school and are preparing for the NBA draft.
Mike Dunleavy Senior is returning to the college game. He’ll be introduced as the new head coach of the Tulane Green Wave today. The 62-year-old will be in charge of a program that hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 1995. Dunleavy was a head coach for four different NBA teams, most recently with the Clippers from 2003 to 2010.
The Saints have signed free agent defensive tackle Nick Fairly to a one-year contract. The former first round pick played 15 games last season as a reserve for the Rams and recorded 29 tackles and a half a sack.
The LSU baseball team continues to sink in the polls after dropping another SEC series. The Tigers are ranked anywhere from 14th to 20th as they are off to a two-and-four start in SEC play. Scoring runs have been the problem, as the Tigers have only crossed the plate 15 times in six league games.
In other college baseball news…ULM’s Brayden Bouchey has been named Sun Belt Pitcher of the week. The sophomore struck out a career-best 12 in seven innings in an outing against Appalachian State. The Warhawks lost that game, but ended up taking two of three for the series.
In the Southland…McNeese senior right-hander Kaleb Fontenot is the league’s pitcher of the week. Fontentot threw his second consecutive complete game shoutout as the Cowboys blanked Abilene Christian 3-0.