News for Friday 081916
By Dave Graichen
The Department of Children and Family Services says as of this morning, there are a little over 4-thousand flood victims still in shelters. Deputy Secretary Terri Ricks says some flood victims went back home once the water receded and the power came back on. She says they are working on a plan for housing those who have nowhere else to go. Ricks says the governor and FEMA are working to locate housing for displaced residents for the near and distant future.
Thousands of south Louisiana residents lost everything in the flood, and the Salvation Army is taking donations to help the people who were affected. Capt. Brett Meredith is the Commander of the Salvation Army of Greater Baton Rouge. He says every donation helps. Meredith says 100% of donations go to the flood victims. All monetary donations can be made by texting STORM to 51555.
There are no plans for President Barack Obama to cut his New England vacation short to see the devastation in Louisiana first hand. It’s caused many Louisiana residents to wonder if Mr. Obama is concerned about the flooding disaster. Governor Edwards says more than 900 FEMA personnel are on the ground and hundreds more are expected. He says the President has done everything federal law permits him to do to help Louisiana. Plus Edwards says if the President came to the state this week, it would cause a disruption in traffic, hamper recovery and relief efforts, and law enforcement officers would have to leave their posts to help with security.
CNN is reporting that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, will travel to Baton Rouge sometime today to tour damage from catastrophic flooding.
More than 85-thousand flood victims have registered for federal aid. FEMA spokesperson Maria Padron says in the next few days FEMA will open disaster recovery centers where flood victims can come ask questions. She says the amount of money a victim receives is determined on a case by case basis. She says the average payment is about 2-thousand dollars.
Unfortunately, it could be a while before the hardest hit flood victims have power in their homes again. As of Thursday night, seven-thousand customers are without power and utility crews are working to re-energize lines. Entergy spokesperson, Kacee Kirschvink (Kursh-vink), says when water is involved, it’s a tedious process to reconnect power safely. Kirschvink says customers who received floodwaters in their homes or business may have to make repairs to their electrical system before power can be restored. At one point Entergy had over 32-thousand customers without power.
The state Department of Health reports 13 people have died as a result of the flooding. The latest death came in Livingston Parish. A 93-year-old woman who inhaled floodwater while she was being evacuated from Denham Springs contracted pneumonia and died at a hospital on Wednesday.
A 32-year-old man has been sentenced to 50year sentence after a jury found him guilty of attempted first degree murder of a Jennings police officer two years ago. George Lowdins was also sentenced to 20 years for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The sentences are to run concurrent. Lowdins shot Sgt. Ricky Benoit in the neck at close range as Benoit and other officers were responding to a domestic disturbance in June 2014. The bullet hit the left side of Benoit’s neck and lodged in his back shoulder, shattering a vertebrae and paralyzing him.
Lake Charles police have started using their recently acquired body camera systems.
Police Chief Don Dixon says the department has 110 Watch-Guard body cameras, which officers will dock into a transfer station hard-wired into the department’s network.
Sgt. Tim Pruitt says video from all cameras is downloaded into the evidence library.
Dixon said the cameras are on loan from WatchGuard while the department waits for an upgraded model to become available.
Former Saints Safety Darren Sharper has been sentenced to 18 years in a federal prison for raping and drugging nine women. Sharper says, while in the courtroom that he made some ‘heinous decisions’. Legal Analyst Tim Meche says Sharper’s money was probably more help to him in this case than his Saints fame. Meche says Sharper got the deal of the century.
The LSU football team did not practice Thursday, which gave them an opportunity to visit flood victims at a Baton Rouge shelter. Coach Les Miles brought about 50 players to the Celtic Movie Studios, where hundreds of people are staying. Many players, including running back Leonard Fournette, signed autographs and took pictures with the evacuees.