News for Monday 091216
By Dave Graichen
Students in Livingston Parish finally return to school today after being out for almost a month because of the historic flooding. Parish School Superintendent Rick Wentzel says going back to school gives these kids a sense of normalcy that’s been missing for too long. Six schools in Livingston Parish will not reopen due to flood damage. Wentzel says some schools are platooning, which means students at the home school attend classes in the morning, while kids from a flood damaged school go in the afternoon. He says they are still working to find contractors to begin construction on schools that were completely ruined by the flood waters.
The push is on for more federal dollars to assist in flood recovery. Governor John Bel Edwards has requested Congress pass a two billion dollar federal aid package. LSU Political Science Professor Robert Hogan says Louisiana’s Congressional delegation will face some difficulty, because three of our members voted against a Superstorm Sandy relief package. Time is also a factor. Congress is taking yet another recess at the end of the month for the November election.
Businesses in Louisiana suffered losses due to the historic floods to the tune of over $2 billion dollars. That’s according to Don Pierson, the Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development. He says overall, the August 2016 disaster caused a total of about $8.7 billion dollars in damage. More than 6,000 businesses flooded in the 22 affected parishes.
The Louisiana Department of Health says there have been 10 more cases of West Nile and two more confirmed cases of Zika in the state. The additions means there are now a total of 24 cases of West Nile virus in Louisiana. State health officials say the total number of Zika cases in Louisiana now stands at 28. All are travel-related.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency was criticized by members of Congress Friday over the pace that they were able to send aid to communities devastated by historic flooding in South Louisiana. Congressman John Mica of Florida, who chairs the Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets, toured the affected communities. He said the manufactured housing units FEMA brought in to help are pathetic. FEMA says the scope of the disaster was above and beyond the resources they had available to do more than they are.
State Police say an arrest has been made in the case of a fatal crash in Rapides Parish that claimed the life of a 16-year-old girl several months ago. They 24-year-old Micah Baden lost control of his vehicle on May 17th, and crashed into a parked semi-trailer. 16-year-old Chloe James was in the front seat and died. Baden was charged Friday with vehicular homicide.
Two new polls on the upcoming U.S. Senate race put Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy in the lead. UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says after looking at the poll by the Remington Research Group, it’s likely a democrat and republican will make the runoff, but both polls have Republican Charles Boustany looking good.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has closed several oyster harvesting areas and delayed the season because the industry is struggling. John Tesvich is a fourth generation oyster grower and also sits on the Oyster Task Force. He says planting usually opens after Labor Day, but this year was more of a partial opening. Tesvich says the industry is still recovering from the BP oil spill that happened over 6 years ago, and then there was a mass die off this summer because of dead zones in the water. He says high water levels in the rivers are bringing more nutrient rich water into the harvesting areas and killing the oysters.
The Saints fail to preserve a two-touchdown lead in the 2nd half and lose to the Oakland Raiders 35-34 in the season opener. Quarterback Drew Brees threw for 423 yards and two touchdowns, moving ahead of Tom Brady on the career touchdowns list Sunday. But the defense gave up numerous big plays in the 4th quarter to allow Oakland to score 22 points in the 4th quarter.
The LSU Board of Supervisors elects not to take up a proposal to give football coach Les Miles an additional 100-thousand dollars if the Tigers make it to the college football playoff. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham the proposal was quickly deferred to be considered at a future meeting.
Two back-ups led the LSU Tigers to a 34-13 win over Jacksonville State for the Bayou Bengals first victory of the season. Quarterback Danny Etling came off the bench for an ineffective Brandon Harris and on his first drive connected with DeSean Smith on a 46-yard touchdown pass.