News for Wednesday 072016
By Dave Graichen
A memorial fund for the families of the fallen Baton Rouge police officers has been set up by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. Communications Director Mukul Verma says the East Baton Rouge First Responders Fund was established in 1988. He says donations can be made at BRAF.org, and every contribution helps. Verma says they have already raised over $33-thousand and more donations are still coming in.
Police officers around the state and across the country are reeling from the Sunday’s tragic ambush in Baton Rouge, and law enforcement now has to decide where to go from here. Pineville Police Deputy Chief and President of the Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police, Darrell Basco, says officers from all over the nation are doing everything they can to help, by sending money or officers to assist in Baton Rouge. Basco says they are also seeing tremendous community support as well. He says people have taken to social media in particular to show love for the men in blue.
Funeral arrangements have been announced for two of the officers who were killed in Baton Rouge on Sunday. A viewing for BRPD Officer Matthew Gerald will be held Thursday at Resthaven in Baton Rouge, then again at Healing Place on Friday before services. The burial for Gerald will be at the Louisiana National Cemetery in Zachary. Corporal Montrell Jackson’s visitation, Services and burial will take place beginning at 9am Monday at Living Faith Christian Center in Baton Rouge.
Qualifying for the US Senate race begins today. As many as eight well-known candidates are expected to file paperwork to put their name on the ballot, five republicans, two democrats and one independent. JMC Analytics pollster John Couvillion anticipates a Republican and Democrat will be the top two voters in the November open primary and advance to a December runoff. Couvillion says Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell and Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy are the front-runners for their respective parties.
The Congressional races in Louisiana officially kick-off today with the start of qualifying. Candidates will sign-up at the Secretary of State’s office between today and Friday. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat predicts the third congressional district seat will be the most competitive with some big names and heavily funded candidates trying to make it into the runoff. Former state representative Bret Geymann, law enforcement officer Clay Higgins and Lafayette businessman Gus Rantz are few of the other high-profile Republican candidates in the 3rd district, which is currently occupied by Republican Charles Boustany who is running for Senate.
Three Louisiana cities rank as very stressful. Shreveport is No. 6, New Orleans No. 8 and Baton Rouge came in at 13th. Dr. Michelle Moore with LSU Health New Orleans says that, especially in the case of New Orleans, crime is one of the biggest factors in the ranking.
Moore says the report shows Louisianians have high anxiety about things like money, health, ability to cope and safety.
Five people from Albany, in Livingston Parish, were killed in a head-on collision with an 18-wheeler in Alabama. State police report the driver of the big rig was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
There are plans to rebuild the Civil War-era Governor’s Mansion that was intentionally burned down a week ago today in Opelousas. Mayor Reginald Tatum is upset the original structure was destroyed, but he says the foundation of the old structure is still in good condition to rebuild. He says the building’s owners are seeking emergency funds to pay for a new mansion through the national trust for historic preservation.
There’s a growing buzz about Melania Trump’s speech last night at the Republican National Convention as some felt it was extremely similar to one Michelle Obama made in 2008. Former Jefferson Parish President and a Louisiana delegate at the convention in Cleveland, John Young, says at the end of the day the Trump campaign needs to deal with the issue and move on.
The community and faith-based organization, Together Baton Rouge, lays out a plan on how to move the Capital City forward in the wake of the ambush on Baton Rouge police and the fatal shooting Alton Sterling. Rev. Lee Wesley says one of the first things that needs to be done is getting help to people who struggle with mental health problems. Wesley says they also want to see more “community policing” in which police build a relationship with citizens.
Wesley says the group will hold “We the People” meetings over the next 6 months to allow people to voice their concerns on both sides.