News for Tuesday 110116
By Dave Graichen
As we mentioned yesterday, most of the state is now in experiencing drought conditions.. with that in mind, the Rapides Parish Police Jury has issued a burn ban. Parish officials say the ban will remain in effect until further notice. Last month was one of the driest Octobers since the last 1800. November does not promise to break that trend.
Today is the last day of early voting and there have already been a record number of voters turning out to the polls. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says as of Saturday, 366-thousand votes have been cast and those numbers are growing. Early voting for the 2016 Presidential Election has broken records from the previous elections in 2008 and 2012. Roughly about 73-thousand people voted each day during the early voting period.
Higher premiums will greet those who sign up for health insurance provided by the federal Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment begins today for coverage in 2017. State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says Louisiana families we’ll see an average premium increase of 33-percent, which is above the national average. Donelon says there are good reasons for the higher premiums. He says consumers will see lower deductibles and co-pays and better overall coverage. But the higher premiums are still a tough pill to swallow.
Monroe-based CenturyLink announces they’ve purchased Level 3 Communications for 34-billion dollars. CenturyLink offers internet, TV and phone services to residents and data and IT services to businesses. ULM Economist Robert Eisenstadt says the deal will allow the Fortune 500 company to shore up their market position and product line. Level 3 is based in Colorado and it provides data, video and other communication services to businesses and government agencies. Eisenstadt says in the telecommunications world the only way to succeed is to keep growing.
College students on TOPS are facing a huge price tag in the spring as severe cuts are coming to the scholarship program. The program for students will be funded at just over 40 percent this spring, leaving those students to make up the difference. Higher education leaders do expect to lose students because they won’t be able to afford to fill the gap from the cuts.
According to a pair of recent studies, Louisiana holds some of the top spots in the nation when it comes to bullying problems in schools. WalletHub says the state is ranked six for the percentage of high schoolers who are heckled on campus, and Louisiana leads in the number of older kids who attempted suicide. The website BackgroundChecks.org compiled similar statistics and found that Louisiana is the MOST bullied state in America.
With Halloween over, retailers are gearing up for the holiday shopping season. The National Retail Federation is predicting consumers nationwide will spend about 952 dollars this year. But LSU Marketing Professor Dan Rice says that could be a little different in Louisiana, given the downturn in the oil industry and so many people were impacted by flooding this year.
The state department of health says Louisiana has had it’s first West Nile virus death of the year. To protect the victim’s privacy, health officials are not reporting where the death occurred. There’s also six addition cases of West Nile to bring this year’s total to 36. Twenty-one of the cases were the serious form that lead to brain damage or death.
Election Day is right around the corner and the race for the 2nd Congressional District seat has been quiet between Democrats Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden and incumbent Cedric Richmond. Congressman Richmond says his track record in office allowed him to spend more time on the presidential campaign trail. Richmond has raised close to 740-thousand dollars and says he is airing multiple radio ads. Holden, who raised over 6-thousand dollars, says he’s ramping up his campaign now.
ESPN’s College GameDay is coming to Baton Rouge this weekend for the LSU-Alabama game. This will be the Tigers’ 26th appearance on the show and GameDay’s 11th time in Death Valley.