News for Thursday 090116
By Dave Graichen
Tropical Storm Hermine continues to trek toward the northern Florida coast early Thursday and is expected to become a hurricane by the time it makes landfall, according to the National Hurricane Center. John Cangialosi is with the National Hurricane Center and says Hermine will likely be a Category one hurricane when it makes landfall late tonight or Friday morning. At this point, forecasters do not expect any impact on Louisiana.
Local officials got a chance yesterday to tour the soon to be completed Rapides Parish Coliseum. The facility has been going through a major face lift for the past few years and is due to reopen late this or early next year. Police Jury President Craig Smith says the public should be prepared to be wowed.
State Treasurer John Kennedy told lawmakers today that they should consider suspending the one cent sales tax increase for flood victims rebuilding their homes. He said the state should not reap a financial windfall from people’s tragedy, when they’ll have to pay an extra penny on items needed to rebuild their lives. But New Orleans Senator JP Morrell, who chairs the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee, says Kennedy, who is running for the US Senate, has been in government for years, and he knows the state’s tax code just doesn’t allow lawmakers to immediately suspend a tax for certain people.
The Baton Rouge Area Foundation has given over 1.6 million dollars to help those affected by the historic flooding that tore through south Louisiana. Director of Communications Mukul Verma says they’ve given dozens of grants to local nonprofits working in the field of flood relief. He says a lot of this money comes from online platforms where people from around the country donate money. Verma says companies around the region have donated about a million dollars so far.
The Senate Homeland Security Committee will once again hear from disaster response agencies in the hopes of getting some answers for flood victims. Chairman and Baton Rouge Senator Bodi White says they still don’t know whether or not homeowners whose houses received damage worth more than half the value of their home will have to elevate their house before they rebuild.
Getting FEMA mobile homes set up for flood victims is proving to be more difficult than anyone anticipated. It was a significant part of the conversation during a legislative hearing at the state capitol. FEMA Coordinating Officer Gerard Stolar told legislators a lot goes into setting up these new HUD approved manufactured homes, on average it’s a 5 to 7 day process. He says a possible alternative to setting up the mobile home on a person’s property is to put a lot of units on a large piece of land. So far, only one FEMA mobile home has been installed on a flood victim’s property.
Louisiana native and five-time Grammy nominee Hunter Hayes has been added to the lineup of the flood relief concert, “Louisiana Rising.” The benefit, which will be produced for broadcast and is not open to the public, is taking place on Labor Day in Baton Rouge and will be hosted by Randy Jackson and Harry Connick Jr — also both Louisiana natives.
Louisiana federal prosecutors have indicted six officials with Explo Systems Incorporated for leaving 78-hundred tons of explosives at a Louisiana National Guard Facility. The indictment alleges the officials lied to get a contract to demilitarize the explosives then improperly stored them at Camp Minden, and all six are charges with criminal conspiracy.
Louisiana Republican Sens. David Vitter and Bill Cassidy are asking federal officials to investigate the background of the bus driver involved in Sunday’s fatal crash on Interstate 10. WWL-TV in New Orleans reported that 37 year old Denis Rodriguez of Honduras, was driving a charter bus carrying workers to Baton Rouge to help with flood recovery efforts when the bus hit a fire truck and other vehicles. The crash killed two people and injured at least 41 others.
Rodriguez is charged with two counts of negligent homicide, negligent injuring, reckless operation and driving without a license
A former employee at an assisted living facility has been arrested for rape. Mandeville Police say 58-year-old Jerry Kan worked as cook at Beau Provence Memory Care. He was booked after authorities received a call about inappropriate behavior between Kan and a 78-year-old resident.
About 12-hundred Tiger fans are headed to Lambeau Field today with the LSU Alumni Association to watch LSU take on the Wisconsin Badgers for the 2016 season opener. Rhett Butler with the Alumni Association says they have chartered six planes and rented out four hotels in Green Bay for the big game
The final tune-up before the regular season is tonight as the Saints host the Baltimore Ravens. New Orleans is 0-3 in the preseason.