News for Wednesday 060816
By Dave Graichen
The investigation continues in to an apparent drive by shooting in Alexandria’s Garden district Sunday afternoon. The APD reports that two men have been arrested and charged in the incident. 22 year old Farron Jones of Pineville and 20 year old Justin Babin of Gretna were booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center.
The Rapides Parish Police jury has added it’s comments dealing with an issue that up until a few month ago, was never an issue. It is the belief of the jury that “Someone who is born a male should have to use the men’s bathroom in schools and other public buildings and not be allowed in a women’s bathroom, even if that person identifies as a female.” The Jurors Monday voted unanimously to go on record opposing a federal directive that schools allow transgender students to use bathrooms of the gender with which they identify.
Governor John Bel Edwards addressed a joint session of the legislature yesterday calling on lawmakers to raise enough revenue during this special session to reduce cuts to state programs. He wants lawmakers to limit the itemized deductions taxpayers claim on their state returns. He says this proposal would not affect the majority of Louisiana taxpayers.
Several lawmakers are in a foul mood after failing to approve a construction budget. Ways and Means Chairman Neil Abramson says Senate changes to the spending plan made the bill unworkable and he didn’t bring it up for a vote in the regular session. The construction budget funds road projects, repairs to public buildings and improvement to state parks. A new version of the construction budget bill has begun to move in the special session as the four-billion dollar financing plan was approved by the Ways and Means Committee yesterday afternoon.
The Senate and House education committees have agreed to revisions to the Common Core education standards. A 26-member review panel recommended changing 21-percent of English and math standards used in public schools and now Governor Edwards will decide whether they should be implemented in the classroom.
The LSU baseball team is headed back to the Super Regionals as the Tigers rallied from a two-run deficit to beat to beat the Rice Owls five to two. The most valuable player in this game was Jared Poche, who on three days’ rest, threw six shutout innings and kept LSU in the contest, until the bats woke up in the 7th.
LHSAA principals meet today in Baton Rouge to vote on four proposals regarding the public-private playoff split, which is set to expand to other sports beginning next year. LHSAA President Vic Bonnaffee says one reason for this meeting is because the expanded split to other sports has created logistical issues for the venues that host championship events in basketball, baseball and softball. Bonnaffee says whatever happens today, the debate over public versus private schools will not end.
The governor is signing the Ban the Box bill into law today. The measure would prohibit state employers from asking about criminal history until the interview process. Executive Director for the US Justice Action Network, Holly Harris, says they’re excited to see this legislation pass with bipartisan support, because Louisiana is the incarceration capital of the world and in serious need of criminal justice reform. Harris says this legislation is about showing that former convicts are more than just their one mistake.
A bill that failed to make it out of the final hours of the regular session would have given convicted teen killers serving life sentences parole hearings after 30 years in prison. The bill was a reaction to a Supreme Court ruling that says convicted minors cannot be sentenced to life without the chance for parole. Louisiana is one of 32 states who are not in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling.
The state Department of Environmental Quality has resumed mercury testing in public waterways after the program was halted in 2008 because of budget cuts. DEQ environmental scientist Al Hindrichs says there are currently 48 advisories in place for 85 water bodies in Louisiana.
The family of slain Tulane graduate Thomas Rolfes held a news conference Tuesday to beg for information about the murder which happened a month ago today. There are no suspects in the 25-year-old’s murder. His fiancé, Elizabeth Fried says Rolfes was a wonderful man who touched the lives of everyone he met. There is a $30,000 reward.
A Baton Rouge man is behind bars for allegedly strangling his wife to death following an argument. The Sheriff’s Office says 42-year-old Donald Germany contacted family members and confessed to the crime. The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office says 41-year-old Nichole Jones was pronounced dead at the scene after emergency workers tried to revive her.
Authorities in New Orleans report that Officer Natasha Hunter has died from injuries suffered in a crash over the weekend. Hunter suffered traumatic brain injuries. Hunter was working on a car accident on Interstate 10 near early Sunday morning when her vehicle was struck by a drunk driver. Officer Hunter was an 11-year veteran of the.
NOPD Chief Michael Harrison said that flares had been placed around the accident and that officer Hunter was inside her vehicle when it was struck.
The Humane Society of Louisiana says they’ve seen a higher than usual number of animal abuse arrests and seizures over the past 6 months. Director Jeff Dorson credits newly formed partnerships between humane societies and law enforcement agencies that work together as a team to investigate cases of animal abuse. Dorson says now when people report cases of animal abuse, members of the humane society will go out with the law enforcement agencies as they coordinate the arrests, and seize the animals to find them new homes.
The Thibodaux Police Department says they’ve arrested a man on bank fraud charges for allegedly writing checks on an account that did not belong to him, and spelling the numbers wrong. They say 23-year-old Brandon Sims of Thibodaux was caught red handed, and police noticed that “fifty” was misspelled on the check and that actually contributed to an additional charge. Sims is being held on a $17,500 bond.
The Saints have signed free-agent safety Roman Harper, who spent the first eight seasons of his career NFL career in New Orleans before playing his last two with the Carolina Panthers. Harper started 104 games out of a possible 108 during his first tenure with the Saints. NFL analyst Mike Detillier says Harper provides familiarity, a player with high football IQ and depth.