News for Friday 092316
By Dave Graichen
It’s been a long time coming, but a former Rapides Parish teacher won her court battle against the school district after claiming she was wrongfully terminated back in 2001. Patricia Powell was a teacher at Tioga Elementary School in January 1998 when her photo and comments were included in a Town Talk article about the settlement that former Superintendent Betty Cox had reached with the district. Powell alleged that the district took its revenge on her for those comments. Judge Thomas Yeager agreed with Powell and awarded the former educator $1,147,000, plus interest and court costs.
Congress has put together a $500 million flood aid package for Louisiana. US Senator Bill Cassidy says Louisiana’s relief is coming from two pots of money, this is the first and the second is coming in December. Some of this funding could go to other states, but Cassidy is confident a majority will go to Louisiana. He says as soon as this is passed, the money will be available to the state. The flood aid for Louisiana must be approved by next Friday at midnight.
Governor John Bel Edwards responded to a viral video of a house that was poorly repaired under the Shelter at Home Program. He said that particular residence had not been inspected yet and it would have never passed. He reminded listeners on his radio show that the program pays for basic repairs- just enough to make the home livable. He says Shelter at Home workers are now required to show what kind of work will be done.
The Military Family Assistance Fund, which was originally set up to support families when a National Guardsman was deployed overseas, is now helping veterans who are affected by the flooding. Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Col. Joey Strickland says the legislature modified the fund to help all veterans who have a financial need. Strickland says they hope by the end of this month to give out a total of 350-thousand dollars to flood impacted veterans.
Monday is the deadline for Livingston parish pet owners to claim pets that were lost in the flood, and then shelters will start adopting them out. Executive Director of the Humane Society of Louisiana, Jeff Dorson, says they have been sheltering over 500 pets from the Livingston parish area since the flood, but they could only hold them for 45 days. Dorson says people who lost a pet should check the Livingston Reuniting Pets Facebook page or contact the Humane Society of Louisiana. He says adoption counselors can help people find their lost pets.
The Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report ranks Louisiana’s roadways 34thin the nation for overall performance, up 6 spots from the previous year. Louisiana ranked poorly in the areas of fatality rates and urban interstate pavement condition. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says there’s almost a $13 billion backlog in transportation projects, and it will take more consistent funding resources in order to improve Louisiana’s overall ranking.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore says the fatal shooting by four sheriff deputies of a 48-year-old man in February was legally justified. Moore says Travis Stevenson was repeatedly ramming his vehicle into a Sheriff’s Office S-U-V. Moore says witnesses interviewed by State Police supported the claim of self-defense. Moore says Stevenson’s family says he suffered from mental illness and extremely upset over his father’s recent death.
The first statewide safety survey of college campuses had so few respondents that the findings didn’t provide much insight. The voluntary survey aimed to address violence and sexual assault on college campuses, but only 5-percent of students participated. The board of regents says they will try to boost participation next spring.
An unusual homicide in Lafayette becomes more and more bizarre as the details unfold. Lafayette Police Officer Karl Ratcliff has confirmed the body of 23-year-old Alannah Montalvo was found dismembered in a toolbox on the side of the road, four days after her boyfriend, 36-year-old Barrett Farabee, was shot while trespassing in someone’s backyard. Police say Montalvo and Farabee had been in a relationship for quite some time prior to these horrific events.