News for Thursday 050516
By Dave Graichen
Well it’s now official, the Historic Hotel Bentley is now open for business. Owner Michael Jenkins was on Talkback 970 yesterday to break the news. (two of the three floors of the hotel are now open to the public, for a total of 62 guest rooms.) Renovations will continue on the other floors, another 31 hotel rooms, and several floors of condos. The restaurant in the Bentley should be opening very soon as well.
Alex River officially gets underway tonight with “Dinner on the bricks”. About a dozen local restaurants will serve from 6 until 8 p.m. this evening in front of City Hall on Third Street. The festival continues Friday with Art Walk at 4 p.m. and live entertainment.
Blue Bell is recalling select lots of Rocky Road Ice Cream pint packages that were mistakenly filled with Cookies n' Cream ice cream at its flagship Brenham plant. In a statement issued Wednesday, the Cookies 'n Cream ice cream contains soy and wheat not listed on the Rocky Road packages, which could cause serious and potentially life-threatening reactions to allergic consumers. The good news is, no illnesses have been reported so far. FYI, The affected packages are marked Rocky Road but are capped with a Cookies 'n Cream lid.
Louisiana’s teen birth rate has declined substantially over the last decade. A report from the Centers for Disease Control shows Louisiana’s teen birth rate is 37.5% for 2013-14, which is a decrease from the 2006-07 rate of 69%. Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Rebekah Gee says this is great news for Louisiana. Gee says she thinks teens are practicing safer sex, or better yet abstinence. But, while it’s an improvement, Louisiana still ranks 7th in the country for teen births.
Former-Monroe TV personality “Mr. Wonder” has given up on fighting extradition from California back to Rapides Parish to face child sex charges that date back to 1978. Rapides Parish Sheriff’s office spokesperson, Lt. Tommy Carnline, says Selas will go to court in Rapides Parish on two counts of aggravated rape, three counts of sexual battery, and eight counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile.
Governor John Bel Edwards doesn’t want to give 40-thousand state workers a pay raise next year. It’s because the state is looking at a 600-million dollar revenue shortfall. The Civil Service Commission has the final say and plans on making a decision on the governor’s request next month.
During the governor’s short time in office, his main priority has been the state’s massive budget deficit. But John Bel Edwards wants to address tackle other issues during his term. Edwards told the Baton Rouge Rotary Club he is committed to the creation of a high speed commuter train between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Edwards says advancing online educational technology is another area where he’d like to see expansion. He says young adults should have the opportunity to get their G-E-D through classes on the internet. Edwards says in next year’s regular legislative session, sentencing and criminal justice reform will be one of his top priorities.
A Senate committee shot down the House approved measure that would allow lawmakers to decide whether or not people who receive food stamps should have to work. The 4-2 vote fell along party lines with Democrats in opposition, and GOP support.
Ted Cruz and John Kasich have both dropped out of the presidential race, and Donald Trump is now the presumptive Republican nominee. UL-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says not all Republicans will be happy to see Trump uncontested at the convention, but he doesn’t think the GOP will look for another nominee.
A bill that would allow public high school students to participate in an anonymous national sex survey is heading to the Senate, after getting approval from the House. Baton Rouge Representative Patricia Smith says Louisiana has a high rate of STDs and pregnancy among teens. Opponents of the bill say it’s the parents’ place to talk about these things with their kids, but Smith says that isn’t working. Under the bill, students would not be required to participate.
A proposal that would have limited travel of college athletic teams other than LSU is dropped. Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter decided against moving forward with his legislation. Carter still told the House Education Committee that instead of the state paying for long road trips, the money could be used to hire new professors or fund the TOPS scholarship program.