News for Monday 050216
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards wants a list of budget reform recommendations in two weeks from a special task force that’s studying the state’s finances. Some of the proposals will likely be presented to lawmakers during a special session in June to address a 600-million dollar shortfall. President of the Council for a Better Louisiana Barry Erwin is on the task force and he says lawmakers have already raised the state sales tax, so they are left with limited options to address the budget gap. Erwin says they just want to make sure that whatever revenue raising measure legislators choose are done in a way that doesn’t further hurt the state economy.
State Police report an Alexandria man was killed early Sunday morning in a single vehicle crash on LA112 at Fish Hatchery Road. Troopers say 18 year old Guillermo Ramos lost control and exited the right side of the roadway. After exiting the roadway, the vehicle collided with a culvert and a utility pole before overturning. Ramos was wearing his seat belt, but was pronounced dead at the scene. It’s believed High speed was a key factor.
The small LaSalle Parish town of Tullos is in shock this week over the double homicide case with more questions than answers. Sheriff’s deputies say the bodies of 19-year-old Chesley Coping and 26-year-old Demond Garner disappeared two eeekends ago. Their bodies were located last week. 18-year-old Austin Dyess (die-ess) and 26-year-old Joshua Sant were both charged with 2 counts of second degree murder. Details are still very scarce at this time.
Lt. Governor Bill Nungesser is touring the state to promote tourism as part of National Tourism Week. Nungesser says he’ll be in in West Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and St. Francisville today and then head to the northern part of the state later in the week. Nungesser says in 2015 nearly 29-million people visited the state, which was a record.
ULM students are gathering on campus today to collectively voice their concerns for the future of higher education. Katherine Dawson, Online Program Coordinator for ULM, says students, faculty, alumni, and others will all email their state at an event called Mission: Maroon. The governor’s proposed budget calls for a 183-million dollar cut to TOPS and higher education would receive a six-percent cut in state funding. Dawson says the purpose is not to gripe at lawmakers but to speak up and be heard. She says unfortunately, one email from one person may not make much of a difference, but she hopes that hundreds of emails will.
A giant sink hole on Canal Street in New Orleans is causing massive traffic problems. The hole came out of nowhere at around 3 o’clock Friday in between Harrah’s and Canal Place. The sink hole is located near an underground tunnel that was built during the 1960s. Mayor Mitch Landrieu says the repair could take anywhere between 3 to 6 months to fix.
Lafayette Congressman Charles Boustany has filed legislation that would require a weather radar detection site to be built near Baton Rouge. There are detection sites near Slidell and Lake Charles, but none near Baton Rouge. Boustany says a new site will close the gap in radar coverage in Louisiana. He says he is looking into how much the radar site will cost, but he wanted to get the legislation introduced first. There are also Doppler radars near Fort Polk and Shreveport.
The LSU AgCenter has developed an eye-drop to prevent and treat cataracts. AgCenter Department of Biological and Agriculture Engineering Professor Cristina Sabliov says they became interested in developing a solution because cataracts are the leading cause of visual impairment in the United States. She says they found a way to use lutein to prevent the eye lens from becoming cloudy. Next, the AgCenter is working to patent the drop.
A Grand Isle man was arrested for trying to purchase a child for sexual purposes .State Police trooper Jesse Lagrange who says 30-year-old Wade Perkins asked someone to locate a 6 to 8-year-old child so Perkins could pay for a sexual encounter. He says Perkins is a registered sex offender in Michigan for criminal sexual conduct. Lagrange says more charges are expected to be filed against Perkins.
Former St. Tammany and Washington Parish District Attorney Walter Reed took the stand in his own defense at his federal corruption trial Friday. Reed is accused of misusing campaign money, plus filing false tax returns and other alleged crimes. Reed, who said he was always in campaign mode, talked about some of his expenditures with his campaign funds and admitted to some wrongdoings
A Sheriff’s Deputy with Bossier Parish left his job with the Medium-Security Facility to play professional minor league baseball. 26-year-old Randy Zeigler was a pitcher for LSU and caught the eye of a Chicago White Sox scout. Zeigler says he’s going to be playing for the Lincoln Nebraska Saltdogs. Zeigler says he was just messing around with a radar gun, when he discovered he was throwing at the same speed he was three years ago.
Police have arrested a suspect in the murder of a Texas woman whose body was found in the water off of I-10 near the Whiskey Bay exit. Iberville Parish detectives arrested the victim’s husband 28-year-old Jonathan Allee is charged with second degree murder. Sheriff Brett Stassi says 29-year-old Elizabeth Ferrell’s cause of death was strangulation and they believe she was killed somewhere else before her body was dumped.
Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture are investigating the number of animal deaths that have recently occurred at the Baton Rouge Zoo. Curator Sam Winslow says they asked for the USDA and the American Zoo Association to send in investigators to assess the situation after 18 animals died within the last year. Winslow says the 2-year-old Malayan tiger that died earlier in the month likely suffered from gastric dilation.